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Summary: Ignatius “Iggy” MacFarland is a 12-year-old junior high student who is desperately trying to survive adolescence. He and a few friends decide to escape the angst of hazing, bullying, and constant fear by building and launching a rocket that will take them to a more hospitable culture. They build a rocket, but it explodes on lift-off and Iggy wakes up in a new and scary place filled with all types of menacing creatures. Has he jumped from the frying pan into the fire? This is a middle-grade science fiction story with bullying as part of the plot. This story has potential for older teen readers as a high interest / low readability selection.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 13; read yourself: 11 and Up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 5.9
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Paul Feig is a respected and award winning author. Even though this is his first novel for young people, he knows his audience. The intended audience will enjoy the story, and since Iggy doesn't get back home at the end of this volume, there will likely be a sequel. That said, he may want to reduce the number of exciting episodes in book 2. 350 pages of excitement can wear a reader out.
Pros: The author's warm and humorous affinity with adolescence will draw in teens who are overwhelmed with their current state in life.
Cons: There are many imaginative, creative, and humorous incidents in this book. There are too many imaginative, creative, and humorous incidents in this book.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story about the challenges of getting through adolescence. The author was the creator of Freaks & Geeks, a TV show that helped kids see the challenges that boys and girls experience as junior high students and made them feel good about themselves.
Educational Themes: The minute the reader opens the book, he/she will recognize the people, incidents, and emotional angst that children feel as adolescents. Puberty is a difficult period in a child’s life and it overwhelms many of them. This book helps the reader break the emotional grip of adolescence with humorous and zany adventures.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 9.6 The Reading Tub, Inc. reviewed an advance reader edition of this book.