Frederik knows the Earth shook; why won’t anyone talk about it?
On Frederik’s Hill, many businesses and many more people are named after King Frederik. Frederik Sandwich’s immigrant parents wanted to fit in, thus his name. Unfortunately, that didn’t work; 11 years later, the xenophobic neighborhood kids ostracize him despite his native-born status and the white skin he shares with them. When the Earth shakes and no one will talk about it, Frederik’s thrown together with dark-skinned, white-haired, adopted Pernille, who is similarly ostracized and who can’t seem to call Frederik by his very common name. Can the two foil a plot to murder Her Ladyship the Mayor? Though Scott’s frequent, clever wordplay shows his great promise, this series starter is a glacially paced mess. Outsider status does nothing to make either main character likable. Pernille’s habit of calling Frederik different foodstuffs instead of his name will annoy more than just Frederik from the outset, and Frederik himself is panicky and shrill in a most unfunny way. The characters make wild, unfounded assumptions that do little but confuse. Though the characters learn to accept themselves, the message of inclusion never gets delivered. And finally, the world built for this yarn comes across as neither original nor interesting.
Clunky title, clunkier tale. (Fiction. 8-12)