A white boy from Buffalo experiences unexpected thrills on a trip to Sweden.
“Sensitive” Adam, 12, has gone on the trip of a lifetime to Sweden with his somewhat mysterious and frustratingly imperturbable grandfather David. After only a couple of days of adjustment, he becomes separated from his grandfather while at a huge hockey game. Fearing the police—not fully plausibly—and much more, Adam decides to try to find his own way back through busy Stockholm to their downtown hotel, although he notices that he is being followed by a strange, white girl on a bike with a monkey and, more sinisterly, by an unknown man. Or so he thinks. Adam’s first-person narration nicely captures the heart-pounding, sweaty-palms terror of being a kid lost in a huge foreign city. However, readers who are expecting some meaningful explanation for the man who appears to be chasing Adam or the very unusual girl who befriends him will be deeply disappointed. Much is implied, but it’s merely an impressive facade.
A fast pace and brief chapters help sustain this shallow narrative but don’t fully make up for the frustrating lack of substance. (Thriller. 8-12)