A boy’s amazing powers stand between Earth and total destruction.
In Limberger’s (Timestopper, 1998) latest YA fantasy novel, 11-year-old Johnny Twigum has always known he was different from ordinary people. Living with his mother in Cleveland (his father is a civilian contractor serving in the Persian Gulf) and leading a seemingly ordinary life, Johnny senses the thoughts of other people and feels a gap between him and other kids. The family receives the news that Johnny’s father has been killed in the Gulf, and Johnny’s world implodes. When Uncle Robert shows up with enigmatic warnings and a key to a safe-deposit box in Canada, the turmoil in Johnny’s life only deepens. Suddenly, forces seem to be aligning around Johnny: An attempt is made to kidnap him, and although he eludes it, he’s soon visited by a strange being named Kumo who, for lack of a better term, describes himself as a gnome (“Garden variety or forest?” Johnny’s mother quips). Kumo can be caustic and short-tempered (we’re told he has a “humongous ego”). He raises many questions, but he also brings answers. Johnny, he reveals, is one of those rare individuals whose chakra arrangement gives him amazing superpowers, including mental telepathy, transformation, invisibility and the capacity to use the 11th chakra to open “connection[s] to other worlds and dimensions.” Limberger presents all of these abilities as both awe-inspiring and as the products of science—quantum mechanics is invoked throughout, as is something called “quantum tunneling.” As Johnny attempts to master his powers, he’s still being relentlessly pursued by Jarvis Spinner and his nefarious associates (the type of eminently hissable villains who say things like ‘‘Faith? Bah! Certainty comes from your own will. Relying on the strength of others is a weakness”), who are intent on using Johnny’s powers for their own selfish purposes. The adventures that ensue, told with straightforward enthusiasm, will keep young readers turning pages.
A headlong adventure about a boy who can reshape reality at will.