Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Gary Paulsen
Author: Gary Paulsen
It is certainly never a surprise to receive a “great” book from this author. Let’s face it, for anyone who reads YA books, they should know that Mr. Paulsen is a three-time Newberry Honor-winning author, as well as a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in YA literature. And, boy…does he deserve every accolade he’s received.
This new offering is absolutely, drop-dead hilarious. Henry Mosley is a twelve-year-old whose best friends are Reed and Riley. Henry has recently watched a documentary with his grandfather about Douglas MacArthur, and his demeanor has turned into that of a “leader to his people.” He calls up his friends and tells them to meet him at his house at precisely 1600 hours. Reed is late because, although absolutely sweet, he has a tendency to be a little dim, gets lost a lot even though he’s only a couple of streets away from Henry’s house, and lives his life with six sisters. Riley is always on time and, like a boy scout, always prepared. If you need something, Riley has it – not to mention he documents almost everything that is said and done for future reference. He’s also made out a Last Will and Testament…just in case.
When everyone arrives, Henry announces that Cleveland is boring and that they need to get their names in the record books in order to prove their manhood and, of course, to impress girls. He wants the three of them to be men of action and masters of adventure like Huck Finn, and he has the “tasks” that will make people want to write books about them one day. Riley’s in, as long as he can do his specialty and simply take notes on everything. Reed, although more than a little scared, is in because the other two seem to be able to make him do anything.
The first task is to break a world record doing forward somersaults on a bicycle. Now, this doesn’t sound horribly hard or death-defying, but when Henry says that Reed will be the one riding the bike while strapped to the handlebars, and riding off a neighbor’s rooftop into their swimming pool in order to get to the right height…this task turns into one of the funniest moments I’ve ever read. (Don’t worry: No one gets hurt.) However, at the end of the stunt, one of the things that stops Reed’s forward momentum are garbage bags full of diapers. When Henry announces that the smell of “doody” is actually the sweet smell of victory, I almost fell off my chair.
Many other adventures come up including a camping trip where they meet up with escaped animals from Amazing Dave’s Wild Animal Show that adds more “doody” to Reed’s life; dumpster diving outside the grade school which introduces an exploding Bunsen burner, a trip to a farm where bull-riding is the order of the day; a hundred-year-old mystery that involves bat guano; and, a Memorial Day Parade that will literally have the reader crying from the humor that is thrown at them from every page.
Everyone – YA and adult, alike – should sit in a corner and read this. Talk about a cure for bad days, anger, stress, depression – this book will leave everyone with a HUGE smile on their face.