Author: Frank Cotrell Boyce
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Genre: Science Fiction
Themes: Family, Growing Up
Age Range: 4th-8th grade
Summary: (from Goodreads)
Liam is too big for his boots. And his football strip. And his school blazer. But being super-sized height-wise has its advantages: he's the only eleven-year-old to ever ride the G-force defying Cosmic rollercoaster - or be offered the chance to drive a Porsche. Long-legged Liam makes a giant leap for boy-kind by competing with a group of adults for the chance to go into space. Is Liam the best boy for the job? Sometimes being big isn't all about being a grown-up.
That summary doesn't really do the plot justice, but I can understand why it's written the way it is. The plot for this book is convoluted and completely unbelievable-except it's not. Somehow Boyce manages to make the story about an extremely mature looking 12 year old who fakes his way into a top secret space mission by pretending to be someone's dad feel real. But I suspect that the authenticity that I felt while reading the book had less to do with the plot and more to do with the emotions that Liam brings out in the reader.
Liam is awkward and brilliant and lacks all common sense-much like almost any other tween. He desperately wants to fit in, but has mostly given up on that due to his extreme height and premature facial hair. The one place he feels accepted is in the online community of World of Warcraft. But when he hears about a special contest for dads and their kids to ride the most amazing ride ever, The Rocket, Liam knows he has to find a way to win. And when he finds out The Rocket is, well, a rocket, going to space, instead of running for the hills like most sensible chaps, he fights for the right to ride.
Liam's character perfectly demonstrates the stage of life that comes between childhood and the teen years. He feels left-out by his peers, misunderstood by his parents, restless for adventure...the tween age reminds me of how a reptile must feel before it sheds its skin. Itchy and twitchy and impatient for the next stage of life to begin. Before Liam can truly understand the importance of his family and his own self-worth, he has to scrape away all of that immaturity and try to see the world for what it really is. At least the view is better from space!