Reviews for Boom! : (Or 70,000 Light Years)


Booklist Reviews 2010 July #1
Originally released (and mostly ignored) in 1992 under the title Gridzbi Spudvetch!, Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, 2003) was inspired by its cult status to extensively rehaul and update the text. Seen with fresh eyes, the result is a minor but nevertheless enjoyable light sci-fi romp. Wanting to get the drop on their teachers, middle-grader Jim and his buddy Charlie hide a walkie-talkie in the teacher's lounge. What they hear, though, is more than a bit confusing: "Zorner ment. Cruss mo plug" and all other manners of verbal nonsense. Further investigation reveals two of the teachers to be aliens, and after Charlie is abducted, it's up to Jim and his death-metal obsessed teen sister to save the day. It's exactly the kind of caper you imagine when you're a kid, filled with adult conspiracies, secret codes, and wisecrack-filled escapades. Sure, it gets a little tiring during its zany spaceship finale, but it's hard to find much fault in a climax featuring a giant, disco-obsessed alien spider named Britney. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Jim and Charlie discover that two of their teachers are evil aliens--then Charlie disappears. What follows is a madcap action romp that includes a motorcycle chase, rock climbing in Scotland, and a change of scene to outer space. Through derring-do, cliffhangers, and wisecracks, the narrative manages to be both a send-up and a celebration of classic sci-fi. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #4
Jim and Charlie, in the midst of a middle-school prank, unwittingly discover that two of their teachers are evil aliens, part of a larger conspiracy. When Charlie disappears, what can Jim do but enlist his sister and set off in pursuit? What follows is a madcap action romp that includes a motorcycle chase, rock climbing in the wilds of Scotland, and finally a change of scene to outer space of the Douglas Adams variety, featuring the planet Plonk and characters like "Britney" the giant spider. "You come from Earth...I hear it is most delicious. Tell me about bagpipes. Tell me about Buckingham Palace and Elvis Presley. Tell me about cross-Channel ferries and ABBA, who are a Swedish pop band that shake my booty." Through derring-do, cliffhangers, and wisecracks, the narrative manages to be both a send-up and a celebration of classic sci-fi with its gadgets, invented language, and innocence. "Flipping heck!" our heroes exclaim, and then attack the bad guys with hairspray. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #1
In the wake of his Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), Haddon offers a slighter but nonetheless hilarious update of a tale originally published in 1993 as Gridzbi Spudvetch! Overhearing two seemingly dorky teachers speaking in an unknown tongue, Jimbo and Charlie start poking around--and find themselves in deeper dutch than they could have imagined. It seems that Earth is being checked out by murderous space aliens as a candidate for invasion or maybe total destruction, depending on their mood. Threats from a laser-fingered stranger and Charlie's sudden disappearance cast Jimbo and his ill-tempered but resourceful goth big sister Becky into a mad dash to the Isle of Skye, where the aliens have secreted their one "Weff-Beam" station. Jimbo finds himself beamed to Planet Plonk, where he finds Charlie--and a colony of kidnapped sci-fi fans too dazzled at being on another planet to want to escape. Jimbo's self-effacing narration accommodates both the looniness and the earth-bound emotional ups and downs of adolescents. In all, a well-knit tale that hurtles down a logical path to a satisfying conclusion….well worth a second chance. (Science fiction. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2010 August/September
Haddon has taken his previously published Gridzbi Spudvetch! (Walker Books, 1994) and rewritten it as a ridiculous jaunt of a story that has a plot full of cosmic holes. Convinced that he is about to be transferred to a school for troubled youth, Jim and his best friend ?bug? the teacher?s lounge. They overhear two teachers speaking a strange language, and notice an eerie blue glow in the teachers? eyes. The rest of the book is held together only by extremely likable and realistic characters who are forced to act in a far- fetched sci-fi adventure that will be hard for even the most imaginative readers to take. Additional Selection. Emily Rozmus, K-12 Library Media Specialist, Mechanicsburg (Ohio) Exempted Village Schools ¬ 2010 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 April #4

Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) has reworked his out-of-print 1992 novel Gridzbi Spudvetch! into a delightful crowd pleaser. Jimbo lives in a small flat with his hardworking mother, unemployed father, and disdainful older sister, Becky, who spends her time with a loser of a biker boyfriend. But Jimbo's life takes a turn away from the dull when he and his adventurous friend Charlie plant walkie-talkies in the staff lounge at school. They overhear the teachers using an unintelligible language, entangling them in a farfetched and otherworldly mystery ("There was an adventure on its way, a nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a snack trolley"). Charlie is apparently abducted and Jimbo finds an unusually courageous ally in Becky, leading to a cross-country motorbike chase, the cracking of an alien code, intergalactic travel via a "Weff-Beam," and a trip to Plonk, a planet both familiar and strange. Jimbo and Charlie are excellent foils for each other, and Haddon's madcap escapade is fast-paced, pitch perfect, and utterly unbelievable--yet not a word will be doubted. Ages 10-up. (May)

[Page 109]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 May

Gr 5-8--When James, aka Jimbo, and his friend Charlie overhear two of their teachers talking in a strange language, their curiosity is piqued. They investigate the home of one of them, an elderly woman, and discover a note written in the mysterious language and a collection of brass bracelets. Then Charlie goes missing, and Jimbo and his sister embark on a trip to Scotland's Isle of Skye, where they discover that aliens are kidnapping science-fiction fans to repopulate their dying planet. Haddon explains in the foreword that this novel is a revision of his Gridzbi Spudvetch! (Walker, 1994, o.p.). Though this book targets a younger audience than the author's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Doubleday, 2003), the narrative is much more British, which adds a slight comprehension barrier to an otherwise accessible story. Readers of the "My Teacher Is an Alien" series (S & S) will appreciate Bruce Coville's influences. Adventure and quirky humor keep the pages turning, and readers will connect to Jimbo with little difficulty. If they can overcome some of the cultural differences, they will appreciate the simple and engaging tale.--Chris Shoemaker, New York Public Library

[Page 114]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2010 August
As Mark Haddon explains in his foreword, this story was originally published as Gridzbi Spudvetch! (Walker, 1993)--long before the author achieved renown with his international best-seller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Doubleday, 2003/VOYA December 2003). Besides simplifying the title, Haddon substantially revised the text of this science fiction comedy. Jim, the narrator, and his best friend, Charlie, are a pair of cheerful troublemakers in their early teens. Jim's older sister, Becky, and the parents of both boys are hilarious characters, and the family dynamics are quite entertaining. After overhearing two of their teachers speaking in what sounds like code or a foreign language, Jim and Charlie decide to investigate, and soon find themselves caught up in a series of wild adventures with extraterrestrials. Following suspected aliens all the way from the south of England to the remote Scottish island of Skye, Jim, Charlie, and Becky are captured, but manage to escape from a planet in the "Sagittarian Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy," foil a dastardly alien plot, and save the world This science fiction romp is very much in the spirit of Bruce Coville's My Teacher Is an Alien (Pocket Books, 1989), and such Daniel Pinkwater classics as Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars (Dutton, 1979) and Borgel (Macmillan,1990/VOYA April 1990). The inspired nuttiness of the encounters between eccentric humans and poorly-disguised extraterrestrials will remind some readers of the Men in Black films. This is a wholesome, rollicking, high-spirited caper, ideal for tweens and early teens, including male reluctant readers.--Walter Hogan 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.

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