by Wendy Mass
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group
Genre: children's fiction - sci fi ish
Summary from the back of the book:
Joss is the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the seemingly impossible job of bringing it back. With the help of Annika, an outspoken girl from Earth, he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime...and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he'd imagined.
I so wanted to love this book. Space, quotes from physicists, Carl Sagan ... it tries sooo hard to be nerd cool. The problem is that overall it is stunningly mundane. If you are a trans-dimensional being in a Realm that encompasses all of the Universe - um - you are going to spend billions of years in school, live in a house with your family, have an after school job and be a bipedal humanoid with two arms ??? Your life is going to sound like a totally average kids life except with a few special effects?
The plot really consisted of going here to get information, waiting, going there to get information, waiting, waiting some more, going there --- you get the idea. And don't get me started on the understanding of physics. I shall be charitable and ignore that train wreck. Oh, I have to rant about one - can anyone explain why the ancient ones and the Powers That Be complain that they don't understand time / timetravel and the effects of changing things in the past but go ahead and do something that should have massive repercussions anyhow? If they are running things, shouldn't they darn well understand what should simply be another dimension for them ? Score one for the grownups are idiots trope. Sigh.
And ARGH! I hate the whole math, physics, thinking is hard stick! In a book that is supposed to demonstrate that science is cool! Instead the book treats it more like woo. Oops - I am shooting over my quota of exclamation points here.
I also really don't see the kid appeal. There really isn't much of an adventure here and the touching resolution is not geared to appeal to the apparent target age group of the book.
To sum up - the book is readable and kinda cute but was ultimately quite disappointing for me - for all the window dressing this was not really a science fiction or sciencey story - it was just mundane.
Three claws? Just okay. I am going to see if I can get my son to read it to see if a science savvy kids perspective is really that much different than mine.
P.S. This book resembles Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams books in no way whatsoever. I have no idea what those people are thinking. It is also not terribly educational either - I don't know where people are getting that either. The most educational things here are the quotes. Throwing in a few terms like Higgs boson in a totally superficial way doesn't make a book educational.