Jimbo's life is pretty simple. He loves jam and cheese sandwiches. He has a good friend to hang out with. But not everything is so easy. He tries to avoid his sister, who's dating a scary thug with a motorcycle. His father has lost his job and is kind of lost. He's worried that his teachers are going to send him off to a new school for troublemakers. That's why he and his best friend Charlie decide to plant a walkie-talkie in the teacher's lounge - to overhear them talking about Jimbo. But what they really hear doesn't make any sense at all, and when they try to unravel what it means, they quickly fall into a world full of great danger.
In my ignorance, I really only knew Mark Haddon as an adult author (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Spot of Bother). He's actually written a number of books for kids, though, including 1992's Gridzbi Spudvetch! which, with some revisions and updates, was reissued as Boom! I love the tone of this book. Jimbo treats everything he comes across (whether the making of a cheese sandwich or uncovering an intergalactic plot) with a sharp seriousness. It's a very funny book (particularly the scenes in outer space) with twists and turns. I read it very quickly because I wanted to see where everything was heading.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett K. Krosoczka
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Gridzbi Spudvetch! by Mark Haddon
Stuck on Earth by David Klass