Joshua Parker, 13 is not anticipating the summer of 1998. His maternal grandmother is near death and he does not relish the thought of spending the summer in her house instead of home. Joshua's mother insists he join her on this mission as Joshua's older sister Maggie and father have prior commitments.
Joshua literally walks into a house of secrets. He learns that he had an uncle named Patrick who supposedly died the late summer of 1959. His Uncle Paul and mother Joanna have little information to share about this mysterious uncle. Joshua however discovers a box and a trail of clues. He finds a series of old comics drawn by his uncle; he finds a crawl space in the attic where his uncle liked to get away from it all. From a series of enigmatic notebooks and brilliantly crafted drawings, Joshua learns that this mysterious uncle was an avid astronomer and had a keen interest in anything to do with UFOs.
More clues come from a computer game Joshua receives as a gift and also on files chronicling the summer of 1959 on Joanna's computer. Enlisting the help of a neighbor girl, the pair unravel a series of interlocking clues that lead them to...Joshua's uncle!
This is a wonderful book that incorporates several genres. It is a delightful, brilliantly written novel that is part mystery, part science fiction and horror. I also like the way the author gives an excellent definition of Asperger's Syndrome and the affect AS has on behavior; communication and sensory responses/processing, as was evidenced in Joshua's Uncle Patrick and his paternal grandfather. Indeed, many of the behaviors the grandfather was reported as having fit on the autism/Asperger's (a/A) spectrum. The grandfather ruled with an iron fist and after 1959, nobody was to mention Patrick in any way, shape or form. He became a virtual memory.
Thanks to a series of letters the grandmother saved dated 1992-1997; a dogged lawyer; an angel of a doctor; neighbors and an enigmatic computer game and the work of the two Computer Sleuths, mysteries are solved and old ghosts and misperceptions are put to rest.
on July 17, 2001
Josh doesn't want to go to his Grandmother's house with his mother. He doesn't wasn't to spend his summer holidays away from his friends in a stuffy old house. But he has no choice, and, while his mother is busy looking after his grandmother, he has to entertain himself.
The book follows two stories - the story of Josh's summer, with a new friendship and his Grandmother's illness to deal with - and the story of Josh's Uncle Patrick, whose death is a mystery Josh slowly uncovers.
This is an excellent read for 12 to 15 year olds.