Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce (J Boyce and T Boyce)
I loved Cosmic. LOVED IT. Read this book. Read it with your kids or by yourself. Read it if you love your dad, or don't have a dad, or want to be a dad someday. Read it if you always wanted to be an astronaut, or if the last great frontier always scared you out of your wits. Read it if you are an unusually mature 12 yr old, or a sometimes unusually immature 30-something. Just read it.
Cosmic has an extraordinarily tall 12 year old, Liam, who is dealing with the advantages and disadvantages of his height. He discovers on a school holiday to the amusement park that his physical stature and premature facial hair get him entree to a host of grown-up privileges, like riding cool thrill rides all day and (almost) test driving a Porsche. Much to the consternation of Mom and Dad, Liam begins to take advantage of his abilities, even going so far as to bring a classmate, Florida Kirby, along on his adventures to pose as his daughter. Somehow (and I had no problem suspending my disbelief on this one, Cottrell's just that good) Liam and Florida find themselves in China posing as father and daughter in an attempt to experience the coolest thrill ride ever: a trip into space.
A Telecom entrepreneur wants to send 4 extraordinary children into space, and Liam convinces her that sending one dad would be a good idea because he can't stand the idea of coming all that way just to get fame-obsessed Florida a seat in the rocket. But to earn his way onto the spaceship he's got to beat out the three other authentic (if misguided) dads by convincing the 4 kids to vote for him as best dad.
It's sort of a 21st century Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but better, with shades of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I love the British sense of humor (I laughed out loud throughout), but it's also sweet and smart and filled with wonder. For the first time in my life I wanted to see the world from out of this world. And there's a tenderness for the bond between father and child, and a respect, too, for the way a father's love can save his child. Trust me, you will love Liam; you will learn to love Florida. You will love this book.
Reviewed by Marilee