Waylon loves science and spends a lot of his time thinking about all of the cool inventions he could create from his scientific knowledge. His favorite ideas right now focus on how to manipulate gravity for his own means. But things in his life are not all going smoothly right now. His sister, who insists on being called Neon, doesn’t act like she used to now that she’s a teenager. One kid at school is splitting the fourth grade boys into two teams and Waylon isn’t sure which team he is on. A kid with a criminal record just came back to school and is even scarier than last year. It’s all changing around him and it looks like only Waylon can solve the crisis by being a bridge from one side to the other.
This novel brings young readers another amazing character from the author of the Clementine series. Waylon, just like Clementine, is incredibly easy to relate to. He is dynamically human, getting into scrapes and situations that readers may face themselves. As always, Pennypacker’s prose is written with a surety and skill that allows young readers to relax and simply immerse themselves in the world that she has created for them.
Pennypacker makes sure to bring just enough humor to the novel to make it accessible for reluctant readers. The playground dynamics set just the right tone. The unique way that Waylon views the world through science makes those issues more dramatic as Waylon sees himself very isolated. The theme of loneliness and then finding a way to reconnect is done in just the right tone.
An awesome new protagonist from Pennypacker is something worth celebrating! Appropriate for ages 6-8.
Reviewed from e-galley received from Disney-Hyperion and Edelweiss.