This is my new favorite not-for-kids-only book! I didn't start either book I was debating over this weekend, because, on Friday, I received a copy of this neat Harper Collins book with a request to write a brief review. If you're thinking, "Ya sure, why would they want her comments?", well, let me explain. My comments won't go on the book jacket; that space is saved for the big guns with recognizable names. However, one of the trade associations I belong to may use my quotes on marketing materials, and on their professional website.
To bend a famous country music phrase, this book had me at page one. Poor Gil Goodman is trying to rise above the public scrutiny leveled upon his family due to his dad's termination from the Golly Toy & Game Company. Dad was accused of a complex computer plot that ...well, stealing, basically!
Despite "the incident", as it is called, Gil enters a contest celebrating Golly's 50th anniversary with the hope of winning enough money to move his family to a new town. This is where the fun starts. Each phase of the contest resembles a popular reality show,with a twist of "Jeopardy" and "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" thrown in for fun. Contestants are whittled down through a series of cerebral, and physical challenges. Sometimes they work as a team, sometimes they work alone. The smartest, cleverest,strongest, luckiest, bravest survivor wins it all! Throughout, Gil is plagued by company officials who want anyone but Gil to win, cheating gaming partners, and challenges that would stress out Albert Einstein.
If this all sounds a little like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, here's what the author, Jody Feldman, says about that: "...what about the student who returned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to the school library when I was volunteering? He asked the librarian for another story like it, but neither she nor his teacher could find a title to satisfy him. It was at that moment I decided to write a book for that ten-year-old boy, and I will forever be indebted to him...whoever he is."
Tomorrow I will start Skeleton at the Feast by Chris Bohalian (Midwives). This book, set near the end of WWII, is set to be released in May.