A seventh-grader stumbles into some intergalactic shenanigans.
Nicholas V. Landrew is a typical middle schooler, with little about him people might find remarkable or unusual. But once Nicholas is beamed aboard a Craborzi spaceship he becomes quite distinct to the larger universe. With his beloved gerbil, Henrietta, and a package of ground beef as traveling companions, Nicholas zips across the galaxy trying to get back to his parents before he gets in trouble. The ensuing novel wears its debt to Douglas Adams on its sleeve, mixing a zany adventure with humorous asides that open up the author’s peculiar and silly version of the known universe. Readers looking for the standard middle-grade adventure story will find plenty to enjoy here, but the author elevates the material by crafting his novel with the Douglas Adams’ toolbox. There’s an odd remove from the novel’s expected course of events that puts everything just left of center, with the author letting readers know that this is all just a bit of fun that only the written word can create. Nicholas’ character does get a bit lost in the shuffle, creating a novel that won’t emotionally engage readers but will poke at their intellects here and there. Larkum depicts Nicholas as white in his frequent black-and-white cartoons.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide for the middle school set. (Science fiction. 9-12)