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Dizzy Fantastic and Her Flying Bicycle Paperback – August 8, 2010
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Daddy--Well, what did you think of it?
Kids--It was good.
For their age, I think that says a lot. They liked a number of parts and found the main characters interesting. Some of the more complex themes were over their heads, so I'd say that this book is generally for children in their tweens and early teens. However, my little ones (who are voracious readers on their own) got into it and loved the idea of a 14 yr old girl as a superheroine, so don't be afraid to introduce younger kids to it. There's nothing shocking or offensive, though there is a death that occurs.
From the adult side (and I'm writing as if this applies to the more discriminating teen, as well), the book was good, but uneven, to use a bland and non-committal term. I believe Andy Hueller's first published book is a good start and I trust he will tighten things up in future stories.
How do you review a short story while not giving up any story details? I'll just say that there were certain pieces of information that could have been left out or followed up on. Information about the main characters like the fact that the family was Jewish were never really explored or followed up on, so it only seemed to be there as an acknowledgement of how Mr. Hueller pictures the family in his mind as he's writing. It didn't affect the store one way or the other.
Another area that bothered me some was the lack of curiosity on the author's (and main character's) part as to how Dizzy's powers came to be. The fact that she has powers is interesting and Mr. Hueller explores what she does with them well, but there's a curiosity missing.
At this point, let's make clear that this is really a coming of age story for a shy 14 yr old girl in a public school. There should be plenty of young people that can relate to the life Dizzy lives when she's not a superheroine, and the drama that Dizzy experiences is well expressed by Mr. Hueller. He neither condoes nor condemns some of Dizzy's experiences, he simply relates them and how Dizzy reacts. Sometimes it's bland, but Mr. Hueller makes the protagonist quite endearing throughout.
Not wanting to give anything else away, I'll give this book a three and recommend it to those who like a little fantasy to break up their teen drama. I think you'll admire Dizzy and see some redemption for yourself in the process of hearing her story.