In his latest book, Cosmic, author Frank Cottrell Boyce created a main character, Liam, who is in fact a twelve-year-old boy with all the interests, dreams, and fears of an average twelve-year-old boy, despite the fact that he could pass for about thirty. He finds a way to use this unusual physical trait to his advantage, however, as he gets away with things that typically only adults would be allowed to do. His partner in crime is Florida, a girl his own age, who poses as his daughter so that she can join in the fun. Their most outrageous adventure comes when they are selected for a top-secret Chinese experiment which will allow a handful of individuals to travel in a rocket to the moon.
Even though the main character may look like a grown-up, ultimately, this book is a coming-of-age story about an adolescent boy who learns to grow up in ways beyond his years. While initially I thought the topic would not appeal to me, I changed my opinion within the first few pages of the book. I found that while I was reading, the humor and unlikely hijinks had me laughing out loud throughout much of the book. I was able to dispense with my disbelief about a tween boy passing for thirty and just enjoy the irreverent and original tale. Boyce’s writing style is fresh and comedic.
“You should know better, big lad like you.”
Why, by the way? Why should a big lad know better just because he’s big? King Kong’s a big lad. Would he know the way to the bathroom on his first day at school? When no one had told him? No, I don’t think he would.
Even the chapter titles had me grinning as I read this book. A few of my favorites were Completely Doomed, My Favorite Gravity, I Nearly Shaved Myself To Death, and InChinaYouIdiot. This is definitely one I will be passing along to my nephews and eventually my own children when they’re old enough to read it.
Cosmic is published by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, and will hit bookstore shelves in January 2010.