Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Secret of Zoom

Written by Lynne Jonell
Most enjoyed by 5th through 8th graders

Christina Adnoid has been sheltered by her father since her mother's death in the Loompski Laboratories when Christina was four. The labs, owned by Leo Loompski, were created so the scientist could discover uses for zoom, a substance found in the rocks of the Starkian Mountain Range. But Leo has disappeared and the labs are now run by his nephew Lenny whose main goal is to win the Karnicky Medal no matter what the cost. Christina has only faint memories of her mother who had been helping Leo and was on the verge of a great discovery when she was blown to bits in a huge explosion. Now, even years later, Dr. Adnoid is overly cautious about keeping his daughter safe. Not allowed to go to school or play with other children, Christina spends hours watching them from a distance while trying to avoid difficult math lessons on her computer.

One day, during her daily hour of fresh air in the yard, Christina spots a young boy hauling garbage. He talks to her long enough to tell her that he's named Taft and is one of the orphans living in the Loompski Orphanage she can see from her bedroom window. Christina is intrigued by Taft and his story of a tunnel hidden in her house, a house that was built by Leo Loompski himself. When Christina discovers the tunnel, she's elated to find that it leads to the outside, directly in front of the orphanage. She watches in amazement as one by one the orphans are forced to sing. Those who sing on key are chosen to ride in the back of the garbage truck, never to be seen again. Christina spots Taft in the crowd, watches as he narrowly escapes the truck, then helps him back to her house. That's when she discovers that there is something mysterious going on with the orphans that involves the zoom and, could it be, perhaps, her mother?

School Library Journal listed 'The Secret of Zoom' as one of 2009's Best Books and they are right. I absolutely loved this book and can't wait to get it into the hands of readers looking for a great adventure story. My description of the book doesn't do it justice because there is so much more to it but I don't want to give too much away. Just let me say that 'The Secret of Zoom' is a page-turner. Christina is a great heroine who has to summon up courage she didn't know she had to help Taft and the orphans. Taft is a big-hearted boy who longs for a chance to go to school to learn the math Christina hates. The mystery of what zoom is and how it works propels the story forward, as does the discovery Christina makes about her mother. But I will stop here and ask that you take my word for it and check out 'The Secret of Zoom'. You'll find this a book you'll enjoy right from the first page.

No comments: