Reviews for New Policeman


Booklist Reviews 2007 February #1
/*Starred Review*/ Heart-pounding Irish music is the common ground between material and magical worlds in this ambitious fantasy, which begins in western Ireland. When J. J. Liddy is 15, his mother jokingly asks for a birthday present of more time. From an eccentric neighbor, J. J. learns to his astonishment that his mother's request may not be impossible to fill. Bravely venturing into an alternate fairy world, J. J. takes on a thrilling, epic quest in which he confronts dark family rumors and tries to repair a cosmic time leak between his world and "the land of eternal youth." Thompson packs her mesmerizing, chaotic novel with Irish culture (including phrases defined in a glossary), interconnected mysteries, and sly questions about the stresses of contemporary life and the age-old frictions between religion and folklore. Readers will quickly overlook any creaky plot connections and fall eagerly into the rich, comic language and the captivating characters and scenes, particularly those that feature musicians (including talented J. J.), who play the "wild, anarchic music" that bridges worlds. Musical scores for Irish tunes (some written by Thompson) close each chapter in this soulful, wildly imagined tale that has already won several British awards, including the Guardian Children's Book Prize and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. Suggest it to fans of O. R. Melling's The Hunter's Moon (2005) and Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books. ((Reviewed February 1, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2007 February
Finding the time

J.J. Liddy is old enough to realize that his family is unique, but young enough not to appreciate that uniqueness. The 15-year-old Irish boy is a fiddler, and a good one, having been raised around music. He and his mother—who plays the concertina—join up with other musicians on Saturday nights in the Irish coastal town of Kinvara and play late into the evenings. This weekly ritual comes to an end when J.J.'s adolescent yearnings and his family history intersect; he learns to his chagrin that his great-grandfather is believed to have committed a murder, and worse, that the victim was a priest!

Kate Thompson's teen novel The New Policeman opens as this news is imparted by J.J.'s best friend on the school playground. To find out the truth, J.J. must talk to his mother, Helen, and that conversation leads the boy on a quest to find the perfect present for his mother's birthday—more time.

The town of Kinvara is suffering from an ailment all too familiar to denizens of the modern world: There's not enough time for the good things in life anymore. Some people in the village—particularly those attuned to the old ways—suspect that the lack of time is more than an illusion. J.J. begins his search for this lost time when he enters the ruin of an ancient Irish ring fort and emerges in the land of the fairy folk, the Tir an n'Óg.

J.J. enlists the help of a mysterious and enigmatic faerie named Aengus, who hints that his quest may have bigger implications that he thought possible; the fate of worlds may depend on his actions, if only he has enough time!

Winner of Britain's Whitbread Award for Children's Book of the Year, Thompson's novel catapults the reader into a Brigadoon-like world where nothing is exactly what it seems and where the only thing that really matters is music—the music we create, and the music that is life. The compelling plot is full of more twists than an Irish jig (complete with sheet music for those skilled enough to play one), and the well-drawn characters jump off the page. The New Policeman will take you to places, both real and imagined, that you've never been before.

James Neal Webb believes that if you're lucky enough to be Irish—you're lucky enough. Copyright 2007 BookPage Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Time is leaking out of the human world and into the timeless land of Tir na n'Og. The book's complex plot features alternating narratives, enigmatic subplots, and a large cast. The story sometimes gets a bit crowded, but winds into a suspenseful climax. For those who appreciate an original twist on authentic lore, this will be spellbinding. Glos. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #2
A refreshingly non-Arthurian fantasy draws on traditional Irish legends of T'r na n'îg, a timeless land where the carefree sidhe (the fairy folk, pronounced "she") make music, mischief, and occasional forays into the "ploddy" world-that is, ours. Unfortunately, and destructively, time is leaking out of the human world and into T'r na n'îg. Fifteen-year-old fiddle player J.J. determines to fulfill his mother's wish for more time; in the process, he solves the mysterious time-skin leak (created by a self-righteous priest opposed to pagan influence) and finds his grandfather, gone missing many years before. This is a complex plot with alternating narratives in parallel worlds, enigmatic subplots, and a large cast, including Fionn Mac Cumhail's injured wolfhound, Bran; a fairy goat that doubles, when caught, as a drum; and the Dagda and his son Aengus îg, the titular policeman, or garda, who has trouble remembering what he's supposed to be doing in either world. The story sometimes gets a bit crowded but winds into a suspenseful climax, with a crafty conclusion that solves all the puzzles without seeming predictably neat. The characters maintain their dry humor while deepening as the action progresses; the setting (in the Burren, and involving secret souterrains under ancient ring forts) is vivid. Traditional tunes end each brief chapter, and a pronunciation guide and glossary for words such as cŽil' are included. For those who appreciate an original twist on authentic lore, this will be spellbinding. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2006 December #2
J.J. Liddy sometimes wishes he could go clubbing like the other boys instead of playing fiddle at his family's dances every weekend. Still, he loves the music. If only there were more time--for it seems everyone is running around these days, late for breakfast, late for school, late for dancing. Hoping to buy a bit of time for his mother's birthday, he finds himself in to T'r na n'ig, land of the ever young. There he meets the fairy folk, pleasure-loving musicians who explain that time's been leaking from his world into theirs. Not only is this responsible for the terrible rush that plagues J.J.'s life, but it is bringing aging and death to the usually unchanging world of the fairies. Extremely short chapters interspersed with musical scores of appropriate traditional tunes create a choppy start, but the novel, rich with Irish flavor, quickly warms up as time passes too quickly in both worlds. A wholly satisfying resolution returns all characters to their homes--with a bit of crossing-over fun. Charming. (Fantasy. 12-14) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 December #2

Irish author Thompson's enchanting story may be a long book but it reads quickly fitting since it's about irregularities in the passage of time. J.J. Liddy, 15, lives in a village on Ireland's fabled west coast where the prevailing complaint is about too-busy adults and overprogrammed kids ("Children could scarcely even find time for making mischief"). "Time" is what J.J.'s mother wants most for her birthday. The Liddys, renowned musicians for generations, regularly host a cil (dance) with musicians and step-dancers at their home. But though J.J. is a gifted musician himself, he wants to be two places at once when a friend suggests they go clubbing the same night as the monthly cil. En route to turn his friend down, J.J. is waylaid by a woman who knows why time is flying by but needs J.J. (for reasons having to do with his family history) to fix it. The problem has nothing to do with Ireland joining the E.U., as many locals believe, but rather with events in Tr na n'g, the fairy kingdom. As J.J. puts it, "Time is leaking out of our world into yours" a deadly development, since heretofore the "little people" had enjoyed eternal life. Thompson's nifty plotting mines a rich vein of Irish faerie lore and magic for this meditation on the losses that modernization brings. The book is a kind of love song to traditional Irish music, every chapter ends with a melody. Readers may wish the book came with a CD. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)

[Page 70]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 March

Gr 7-10-- J.J. Liddy, 15, is descended from a proud old family of Irish musicians. In his small village of Kinvara, playing traditional music is a way of life. Lately, though, it seems that the townspeople have less and less time to fulfill daily responsibilities and very few moments left over to make music and enjoy life. In exasperation, J.J.'s mother asks for more time as her birthday gift. Unaware of any magical implications, the teen innocently sets out to find out where the time has gone. This search leads him into the heart of Tr na n'g, the land of eternal youth, where he discovers the truth about some family secrets and the identity of the rather hopeless new town policeman, whose mysterious investigation parallels J.J.'s quest. This novel delivers richly tantalizing morsels of Irish mythology as traditional characters dance across the pages. In a story interspersed with snippets of Irish jigs that reflect the progress of the tale, Thompson has masterfully woven together melody and harmony into a tune that will lead readers to a splendid, rollicking crescendo. Some unfamiliar Irish terminology might make comprehension difficult for those who struggle with reading, but the glossary will help mature readers. Those who follow this story through to the end will not be disappointed.--Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

[Page 220]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2007 February
In the hectic hustle and bustle of today's world, time races on at breakneck speed, and for the Liddy family, time has not healed their wounds. Although they are a close-knit family with a deep-rooted love of music and dance, the Liddy name is associated with a shadowy past rumored to involve the murder of a priest. When J. J. Liddy's mother declares that for her birthday, the only thing that she wants is more time, fifteen-year-old J. J. sets out to find exactly that for her. While out on an errand for his mother, J. J. discovers a gateway to Tir na n'Og, the fairy world of eternal youth. There J. J. meets Aengus, who promises to help him find some time for his mother in exchange for a human song. Embarking on a quest with Aengus, J. J. finds the answer to where the time goes and unlocks some of his family's mysterious secrets. Winner of both the 2005 Guardian and Whitbread Awards, Thompson crafts a perfectly enchanting fantasy tale. Her fairy world is masterfully constructed, brilliantly juxtaposed to the real world, and seemingly believable. Her lilting and musical prose carries the story along, never once losing its rhythm. In this stylish and clever novel, Thompson also offers a powerful message to readers about the value of time and enjoyment of the world around them. Mesmerizing and captivating, this book is guaranteed to charm fantasy fans; recommend this book to all Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl aficionados.-Jennifer Feigleman PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-117428-5. Glossary. Biblio. 5Q 4P M J Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.

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