A middle schooler must outrun a cadre of strange individuals while puzzling out the truth of what he is in this science-fiction offering.
Fourteen-year-old Noah Prime longs to live somewhere bigger than his small town of Arbuckle, Oregon, though he is happily involved in motocross—at least until he learns that the course is being torn down to make way for a condo development. This bad news coincides with some particularly strange happenings in Noah’s life, such as a literal (and very confusing) collision he has with Sahara, a girl that he comes to find very interesting. This is followed by his experiencing a brief and total paralysis while arguing with some bullies, which his friend Ogden, who is on the autism spectrum, insists is due to a psychological phenomenon called conversion disorder. The truth turns out to be much more complex, and it sends Noah, younger sister Andi, Ogden, and Sahara on a madcap quest involving aliens, time travel, an erupting volcano, and much more. The adventure is laced throughout with goofy, sarcastic humor, balancing the fantastical and somewhat confusing turns of events. While there is resolution at the story’s end, it also clearly sets the stage for a follow-up. The main characters read White by default.
A fun, if messy, thriller that’s not afraid to go straight over the top.(Science fiction. 10-14)