Boom! by Mark Haddon

Jim is a magnet for trouble, which is why he thinks his older sister might be telling the truth when she says that the teachers at his school are talking about sending him to reform school.  So he and his best friend Charlie come up with a plan to bug the teacher’s lounge.  While listening, they discover that two of their teachers are speaking in an unknown language.  Jim and Charlie set out to discover what exactly is going on in their school and stumble onto a plot that is much larger than they had ever dreamed. 

Haddon has written a book with a fabulous blend of action, adventure and humor.  The book has a break-neck pace at times that young readers will find great fun, combined with a sense of humor that will have them laughing out loud.  The relationship between Jim and Charlie is so well done.  It completely captures the tension of two best friends, the fights, and the immense connection they have.  I also particularly enjoyed Jim’s father as a character who is losing himself in model aircraft and then discovers cooking as a passion.  There are character who will surprise readers too, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself.  Let’s just say that Haddon excels at creating characters with real dimension.

Teachers and parents looking for a book to hand to reluctant readers over the summer need look no further.  It will also work well as a classroom read aloud thanks to its great pacing and writing. 

This fun blend of intrigue and science fiction will win readers over easily.  Perfect for lifting your summer vacation into orbit.  Appropriate for ages 10-13.

Reviewed from copy received from Knopt Delacorte Dell.