From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Reedy's novel has secrets, homemade rocket ships, romance, bullying, skateboarding, and friendship-plenty to capture the interest of readers. Sixth-grader Brian has moved to a new town in Iowa. He decides that the local skating park might be the best place to meet some kids before school starts. That's where his troubles begin. First, he out-skates the town bully, and then his heart ends up in his throat when the lone girl skater removes her helmet, leading Brian to think "This girl was an angel." Despite his rocky start, Brian finds friends and begins constructing an airplane in a secret lab with them. But will they ever get it in the air? Reedy's tween characters are mostly authentic, but he goes a bit overboard with Star Trek-loving nerd Max, whose stilted language is hard to believe. Otherwise, he nails the angst of the middle-school lunchroom, the tentativeness of a first boy-girl relationship, and the mood of a family who has pulled up their roots for a new opportunity that's not going as well as hoped. This is a solid story that will ring true to readers for many years to come.-Margo Hastings, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This novel includes all the ingredients of a classic middle-school plotline: the pretty and seemingly unattainable girl, the cool guy, the no-good bully, the new kid, and the hopeless but relatable nerd. But Reedy offers up much more than a formulaic preteen drama. Brian, an avid skateboarder, finds himself coping with a difficult move to Iowa at the start of his sixth-grade year. He befriends nerdy Alex and discovers that his new acquaintance has hatched a plot to build a functional homemade airplane in a supersecret laboratory. This seemingly impossible venture brings together an unlikely group of boys, each with their own fears, needs, and tribulations. The dialogue is believable, the plot fast-paced, and the moral subtle: sometimes all it takes to make friends is a common goal. The story is full of heart and will resonate with many middle-schoolers and tweens who feel the pressure of social isolation. Grades 4-6. --Erin Anderson