Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce

July 2009, MacMillan Children's Books (first edition 2008)
328 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Children's, 9+

Cushions: 3/5
Tears: 1/5 (two if you count happy tears)
Smiles: 5/5
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥+

I can't quite remember what the blurb for this book said, but I thought it sounded good. The front cover is cool, I love how Earth is incorporated into Frank's name. The silver isn't confined to just the front cover - the edge of every page has a silver tint, creating a very shiny book. What made me know this would be a book to make me smile, was the inside of the front cover. A Star Wars style blurb, complete with yellow writing which narrows at the top. Clever. This Star Wars loving fan liked it.

The first few pages state the truth, which has the reader asking many questions. How on earth does a 12, no nearly 13 year old boy, tall for his age, end up in a rocket? Just how??? And how does that rocket veer away from Earth, with possibly no way back? He's allegedly in the Lake District. In truth he could possibly see England from space, but his feet definitely aren't on solid ground.

Liam documents the extraordinary tale of how he ended up in space. The incident was escalated by the incident of a very expensive car, and a school trip to a theme park. During these events, Liam forms a bond (of sorts) with a publicity seeking girl called Florida. Yes, as in Florida, the state with Mickey Mouse in the USA.

What must be noted about Liam is that he's smart. Extremely smart. Not so smart that he's a geek, (well, maybe a bit geeky) but he uses his brains. He has street smarts. So, when the phone his dad gives him messages him with the opportunity to win a prize, he goes to great lengths to enter. It's a competition which will change his life forever.

Throughout the journey to the prize, and at the prize, Liam pretends to be someone he isn't. A father. He does it for the fun of it. Yet by the end of the book, Liam understand's what it is like to be a father - as much as a smart 13 year old can. It probably wasn't being with four other fathers who push their children really hard in the competition. Or maintaining the pretence. He actually cares for the children who get to have a water fight on the moon. Who voted against him because he didn't take their photograph. In particular, Florida who forces him to call her Princess.

Florida isn't all she seems - right near the end I was touched by her decision to tell the truth about herself. The way Liam grows in maturity is a path full of entertainment, and pride as he realises how hard it is to be a parent. Even the other, goal driven fathers realise the benefits of being more relaxed. I still think Liam will get up to great antics after his touchdown to Earth (Yes, he does make it back safely. In one peice. But not without interesting events).

I smiled so much throughout this novel I recommend it for the metaphorical rainy day, when you need a laugh, and want something to read which is fun, yet does have touching moments.
Go join Liam in a character building tale, involving icecream, China, and sand dune surfing.

Liked this? Try Eating Things on Sticks by Anne Fine

ISBN 9780330440868
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