By Noelle, Librarian Extraordinaire
Do We Even Care What Kevin’s Point of View Is?
You will if you read it. The short description: a chapter book adventure story that will appeal to kids in grades 4 to 7. Lots of cliffhangers make this a good choice for kids who like something exciting to keep them turning the pages. Definitely an enjoyable read.
What’s Right With This Book
12 year old Kevin has been struggling ever since the death of his father in a bike accident the year before. Because he can’t deal with his emotions, he simply slips into an imaginary world at will, pretending he is Captain Disaster or Marine Boy or a hockey player or anything else. The doctors say he isn’t hurting anyone and will outgrow it. This is no help to his mother and sister, but so be it. Then a mysterious package arrives in the mail, mistakenly making it into Kevin’s hands. It is called the Influxitron and it is really a time machine, but Kevin just finds out it can shoot powerful laser beams that make holes through…well, anything. But before Kevin and his friend Tony can even figure out what to do with the Influxitron, they are already in trouble. Because Devin, our evil bad guy who is supposed to have the device, finds out the boys have it. He brings the classic black vans filled with hooligans to try and capture the boys and get the device back, but this touches off a chase through the mountains and mines near Boulder, Colorado as Kevin’s imagination enables him and Tony to escape the clutches of the bad guys again and again. But you can only run so far for so long. How will the kids get out of this mess?
This is definitely a pageturner of a story. Kevin and Tony are thrown into one cliffhanger of a situation after another and it certainly keeps you going, wondering how they will get out of the mess and what will happen next. Certainly the kind of plot that kids who love an exciting story will dig wholeheartedly. I was kept interested throughout the book, from the first chapter to the last.
No, it isn’t the best written book. Some of the plotline is clichéd, and you do need to take some huge leaps of faith. Where does evil Devin get his money for vans full of hooligans and helicopters? He was working as a security guard! And, like many a time traveling story, the author makes no attempt to address the effects of time travel (anyone who is interested should read the excellent Gideon trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer for ideas of what could truly happen to the world if time travel was possible. Start with Gideon the Cutpurse.). The book also weighs in at a hefty 395 pages, so some readers on the younger end may be daunted by the size of the book. And is there character growth? Ummm, not really. Is the writing style above average? No, although it has its moments.
But kids who like this kind of story will probably very much enjoy it nevertheless. Kids don’t care that some ends are left unraveled, or that the characters are fairly one-sided, they just want to see what happens next. And this story delivers that.
What’s Wrong With This Book
First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. Dear author Del Shannon, you need to both change the title of the book and the cover. If you change nothing else, change the cover. I work with books for kids. I recommend books to kids to read. Kids judge books by their cover. Heck, adults still do that, too. When I saw the cover and the title of this book, I had no desire to read it, and I read kids books as my main diet and don’t usually judge a book by its appearance. If I wasn’t doing it for a review, I wouldn’t have picked it up at all. The cover drawing is weird, and not in a good way. I don’t know why you chose it, and I’m sure you have your reasons, perhaps you owed someone a favor, but it is a bad cover. I showed it to a couple of kids at my library and they made faces at it. Perhaps no one has had the guts to tell you this before and I realize you may have to hurt someone’s feelings, but the cover needs changing. This isn’t the first book I’ve reviewed where the author allows their friend or kids to do the illustrations. Note to authors: This has so far been uniformly a mistake.
Secondly, the title conveys nothing about the book. I know, titles don’t always, and it isn’t the worst title ever. But for an adventure story? I honestly thought this book would be about the inner emotional journey of a boy and have nothing to do with adventure at all.
And while I’m on this topic, the blurb about the book on the back? The first paragraph is clearly written for an adult, not for a kid to read. Kill it. The second paragraph is great.
On the website, the author recommends the book for ages 7 to 77. The reading level and length of the book is too much for most 7 and 8 year olds, although some may enjoy it being read aloud to them. And most 77 year olds wouldn’t pick this up because the cover is terrible.
But Do I Recommend It?
In the end, I would certainly recommend this book to kids who like adventure stories. I think there are other adventure tales out there that are just as good and better written, but if your child is into adventure stories they will probably enjoy Kevin’s Point of View.
And One Last Thing…
For all of you authors out there publishing your own books, you finally have a place besides your blog or someone else’s to review your book! Kirkus Reviews is a highly touted review journal that many libraries, book stores and such read to select books to purchase. Kirkus is now reviewing self-published books for the first time in their Indie section. Check it out at http://www.kirkusreviews.com/indie/ to submit your book for review.
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|Noelle has been a children’s librarian for over 15 years. She’s also been a student teacher, worked as an online account manager, worked in a pet shop and as a supermarket checkout clerk, and as a dishwasher and fry cook. She is the proud mom of a beautiful daughter. You can read more of Noelle’s book reviews at Rave Reviews Log
Noelle can be reached at “Noelle @ DadDoes.Com”