From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—Eddy is distraught when his entry in the science fair doesn't win. When his disappointment, coupled with the gymnasium hubbub, peaks, he squats on the floor, covers his ears, rocks, and chants chemical-compound names to himself. Eddy's sensitive nerves act like antennae, soaking up anxieties that cause him to recoil. The boy has high-functioning Asperger's syndrome and his intolerance of noise, and of other students' inadequate entries, is real—sadly, as real as the people who avoid him. Former playmates have grown up and turned into mean adolescents. At the same time, Eddy overlooks students who try to befriend him, because he is unable to understand social cues. When the school's crossing guard is let go, the boy obsesses over every imaginable calamity that could happen to children in the street. He loves the structure of science and tinkers endlessly with recycled gizmos and wires, and, following his counselor's advice, puts his worry to work inventing a traffic-signal device. It's curious to walk with a mind that works differently, where channels are isolated, fraught, and amplified, but readers will get a chance to do just that with this protagonist. Unfortunately the secondary characters are shallow and unconvincing. Also, the clever insertion of Latin scientific names and other facts from Eddy's bank of "random access memory" illustrates his extreme intelligence and will make the title appealing to science fans, but for average readers such detail is overwhelming and distracting.—Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
* "Move over, Joey Pigza! Here comes another exceptional spokesman for people with learning disabilities. Although never stated in the book, Eddy has the characteristics of a person with Asperger's Syndrome. Eddy is lucky to have understanding parents, a wise school counselor, and a coach who lets him work out his frustrations on a small trampoline. Told in first person, Eddy tells it like it is. As he moves through sixth Grade he continues to discover how to deal with his problems. His scientific mind is a valuable addition, and with gentle social reminders from his friend Justin, another science geek, the reader knows by the end of the book that although Eddy will always have his problems, he is learning to deal with them. Because Eddy is such an endearing character who clearly explains his thinking and actions, this book deserves a place on every elementary and middle school shelf. It should be read not only by kids who go to school with an Eddy, but by teachers who teach an Eddy. Because Eddy has allowed us to understand the way he sees the world, readers will have more compassion for people with Asperger's Syndrome." --Library Media Connection
, Starred Review
"When your parents name you Edison Thomas after the famous inventor (and a family tradition to name members after famous Thomases), you are a ready target for bullies. If your interest really is inventing, you are brilliant, and you have trouble decoding social cues, you're an even bigger target. Readers will catch on more quickly than Eddy that his longtime "friend," Mitch, is behind the mean-spirited pranks that are being played on him. The story's main plot, about Eddy's efforts to invent an intersection-warning device to replace the safety crossing guard, who was eliminated in budget cuts, is fun to follow, but this novel's real strength is Eddy's gradual understanding of true friendship. Eddy gets counseling to help him decipher the basic social cues that elude him (his condition is never directly stated), and his responses to common idioms are both humorous and sensitively drawn as he learns not to take everything literally. As an added bonus, the text includes related scientific facts, from "The Random Access Memory of Edison Thomas," which will intrigue budding scientists." --Booklist
"... [A]wry debut...The author has a particularly engaging way of tracking Eddie's thought processes as he struggles to wrest order from a seemingly chaotic world...By the end readers will understand why Justin and Terry find Eddie worth knowing, but the way the central characters talk and think about science creates another theme that's just as strong and satisfying. " --Kirkus Reviews
"... A perceptive look at a complicated mind, the novel is steeped in the world of science (binomial nomenclature appears throughout), and the quirky humor and authentic characters should have wide appeal." --Publishers Weekly