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Pi in the Sky Paperback – April 15, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Joss is bored with his simple job of delivering pies for the Supreme Overlord of the Universe (his dad). Soon, however, something goes badly wrong, and it is Joss's responsibility to rebuild Earth. Entertaining, unexpected, and irreverent, and yet packed with information about elemental physics and the contents of the universe.α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Joss, seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe, delivers pies that “hold the universe together,” but compared to his brothers’ tasks, his job is menial. Living in The Realms, located inside dark matter, Joss is nearly immortal and complains that nothing ever happens. Then one day an Earth girl, Annika, spies The Realms through a telescope, and suddenly she is in The Realms. Joss’ best friend Kal and Kal’s parents are trapped in an unstable universe, and the Earth has been removed from the space-time continuum. Only Joss can fix things by rebuilding the entire solar system. Considering the premise, there is surprisingly little action. Joss spends most of his narration explaining things to the reader, and the rest of his time explaining things to Annika or trying to communicate with Kal. Still, science enthusiasts may enjoy the speculation about alternate universes, dark matter, and quantum physics. Grades 5-8. --Suzanne Harold --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The story belongs to Joss, the seventh (and youngest) son of the Supreme Lord of the Universe. Joss's father and brothers are in charge of maintaining the universe, and Joss works as a pie delivery guy. They live in The Realms, a place that is not a place really but made up of the dark matter holding everything in the universe together. Besides being essentially immortal and the son of the most powerful of the Powers That Be, Joss seems like an ordinary kid. He procrastinates on his school work, gets teased by his brothers and spends most of his time hanging out with his best friend, Kal.
But when a girl on the "primitive" but popular planet Earth spies the realms through her telescope, the Powers That Be enact swift justice: they obliterate the planet. As Joss knows from his billions of years in The Realms (where time is different than we are used to), planets come and go, and he shouldn't get too attached to any of them. The problem is Kal, along with his parents, happened to have been on Earth when it was destroyed, and to further complicate things, a 12-year-old human girl named Annika has shown up and thinks she is stuck in a crazy dream. When Joss is told, by one of the Powers That Be, that he may be able to rebuild Earth, get Annika home and bring Kal back as well, he is more than doubtful. But his feelings for Kal (not to mention his feelings for Annika) and some help from his family and a famous scientist encourage him to try what he thought was impossible.
From Mass's imaginative rendering of The Realms to the sweet relationship between Joss and Annika to the ideas about planetary and biological evolution, PI IN THE SKY is a fabulous tale. It is a sci-fi novel with a lot of heart, easy to read but challenging to contemplate. It is strange and funny and has an unexpected ending that packs an emotional punch. Almost as good as the story itself is the Author's Note at the end where Mass explains the inspiration for the book and offers some bits of inspiration to her readers.
PI IN THE SKY is an inventive novel that will appeal to kids with all kinds of tastes in literature: chocked full of science and ideas, it is also a fun fantasy and a compelling story about family, friendship and believing in oneself and the possibilities that exist in the universe.
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
Oh, please don’t run away screaming when I say “science”. This isn’t a textbook, ok? As I had said before, the boy Joss lives in The Realms. The Realms are hidden by a substance called “dark matter”, which is invisible because it neither absorbs, reflects, or gives off light (why they would call it dark matter? Beats me). It might seem a little complicated, but the concept is pretty simple. If you read the “What You Need To Know” page in the book you’ll understand even more.
This story is a bit absurd—the kind of absurd that makes you say, “This is so weird! Who had this brilliant idea?” For example, what kind of author would invent someone who plays the drums so badly it makes you want to scream? Only a great writer—with crazy ideas. Somehow, Wendy Mass puts all these pieces together into a perfect concoction: a book called Pie in the Sky. Sometimes bizarre ideas can seem kind of funny…
The adventure in this book is something I had never read before: kind of like a treasure hunt. This kind of adventure makes you want to jump out of your seat, yet at the same time say, “Ahh…I think I’ll watch the sun set.” It’s a strange feeling, but altogether pleasant. This book is not the super action-y kind but it is exciting nevertheless. There is a little bit of tension, because Joss mustn’t be stopped by the PTB (the “powers that be”, kind of like the Government and the FBI mixed together). Trying to bring back the earth is difficult to do without being seen…especially when you’re encouraged by the ugly “Gluck the Yuck”. This book is great for people who aren’t the super-action-book kind, though even if you are, you’ll still love this pie—sorry, this story. And if you'd like see more youth reviewed books, go to my blog, bookshelfexplorer.com