Not even Rory Rooney’s mum’s book Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared can ready her son for the sandwich-squashing, kickboxing bully “Grim” Komissky.
Worse still, there’s not a word in the handbook about what to do when a student’s skin turns broccoli green on a school field trip to Wales. Rory is the puniest boy in year seven, so, sadly, he’s used to bullying. But he’s of Irish-Guyanese descent, with “dark normal” skin, and decidedly not accustomed to being green. When he finds himself in the isolation ward under scientific scrutiny in London’s Woolpit Royal Teaching Hospital, he suspects that due to his newly minted “200 percent brain” he might suddenly be a superhero like the Green Lantern, an agreeable fantasy marred only by the fact that his archenemy Grim is also green…and locked up with him. The slow-growing friendship of the “Broccoli Boys” (who repeatedly escape at night and roam the London streets in hypoallergenic pajamas to wreak havoc or right wrongs) is both hilarious and touching. The snappy dialogue, gorilla encounter, truck theft, and take-charge girl sidekick named Koko Kwok keep it hopping.
Cottrell Boyce, of Millions (2004), mocks neurotic adults, the quinoa craze, and media fearmongering in this funny, sentimental, thematic smorgasbord of a novel that serves up equal helpings of satire and compassion. (afterword) (Fiction. 9-14)