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by Chris McCoy

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-85598-6
Publisher: Knopf

McSweeney’s writer McCoy leverages a loony premise into a surreal and uncommonly messy debut for young readers. It seems that imaginary friends—no, “Abstract Companions”—are really real, manufactured to mental order on a planet in Orion’s Belt. When all of them vanish suddenly, including the gamey and distracting titular pirate that has made him an object of general derision for seven of his 14 years, shunned outsider Ted Merritt discovers that they’ve been recruited into an army of Ab-Coms poised to exact vengeance on the children who have outgrown them. Along with creating a populous, almost impossibly quirky cast, the author concocts all manner of absurd set pieces and twists on the way to a climactic battle in which a gigantic slab of bacon and melted-down video games figure prominently. The author avoids bringing up the idea of Ab-Coms for grown-ups—which is probably for the best—but leaves Ted and readers poised for a planned sequel. A delight for fans of Jodi Lynn Anderson’s unjustly obscure May Bird and the Ever After (2005) and like flights. (Fantasy. 11-13)