Boom!

( 52 )

Overview

An explosive, highly charged, and hilarious middle-grade adventure from Mark Haddon, acclaimed author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

From the moment that Jim and his best friend, Charlie, bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know there's an adventure on its way.

But what does "spudvetch" actually mean, and why do Mr. Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent ...

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Boom!

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Overview

An explosive, highly charged, and hilarious middle-grade adventure from Mark Haddon, acclaimed author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

From the moment that Jim and his best friend, Charlie, bug the staff room and overhear two of their teachers speaking to each other in a secret language, they know there's an adventure on its way.

But what does "spudvetch" actually mean, and why do Mr. Kidd's eyes flicker with fluorescent blue light when Charlie says it to him? Perhaps Kidd and Pearce are bank robbers talking in code. Perhaps they're spies. Perhaps they are aliens. Whatever it is, Jimbo and Charlie are determined to find out.

There really is an adventure on its way. A nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a buffet car. And as it gathers speed and begins to spin out of control, it can only end one way . . . with a BOOM!

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

To Jim and his best friend Charlie, bugging the staff room seemed like a fun-fest prank. What they didn't expect to hear was two middle-school teachers speaking in code. That not-quite-by-chance discovery propels this pair of anarchistic adventurers on an action-packed furtive mission of their own. A frantic, entertaining standalone novel follow-up to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

Publishers Weekly
Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) has reworked his out-of-print 1992 novel Gridzbi Spudvetch! into a delightful crowd pleaser. Jimbo lives in a small flat with his hardworking mother, unemployed father, and disdainful older sister, Becky, who spends her time with a loser of a biker boyfriend. But Jimbo’s life takes a turn away from the dull when he and his adventurous friend Charlie plant walkie-talkies in the staff lounge at school. They overhear the teachers using an unintelligible language, entangling them in a farfetched and otherworldly mystery (“There was an adventure on its way, a nuclear-powered, one-hundred-ton adventure with reclining seats and a snack trolley”). Charlie is apparently abducted and Jimbo finds an unusually courageous ally in Becky, leading to a cross-country motorbike chase, the cracking of an alien code, intergalactic travel via a “Weff-Beam,” and a trip to Plonk, a planet both familiar and strange. Jimbo and Charlie are excellent foils for each other, and Haddon’s madcap escapade is fast-paced, pitch perfect, and utterly unbelievable—yet not a word will be doubted. Ages 10-up. (May)
VOYA - Walter Hogan
As Mark Haddon explains in his foreword, this story was originally published as Gridzbi Spudvetch! (Walker, 1993)—long before the author achieved renown with his international best-seller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Doubleday, 2003/VOYA December 2003). Besides simplifying the title, Haddon substantially revised the text of this science fiction comedy. Jim, the narrator, and his best friend, Charlie, are a pair of cheerful troublemakers in their early teens. Jim's older sister, Becky, and the parents of both boys are hilarious characters, and the family dynamics are quite entertaining. After overhearing two of their teachers speaking in what sounds like code or a foreign language, Jim and Charlie decide to investigate, and soon find themselves caught up in a series of wild adventures with extraterrestrials. Following suspected aliens all the way from the south of England to the remote Scottish island of Skye, Jim, Charlie, and Becky are captured, but manage to escape from a planet in the "Sagittarian Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy," foil a dastardly alien plot, and save the world. This science fiction romp is very much in the spirit of Bruce Coville's My Teacher Is an Alien (Pocket Books, 1989), and such Daniel Pinkwater classics as Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars (Dutton, 1979) and Borgel (Macmillan,1990/VOYA April 1990). The inspired nuttiness of the encounters between eccentric humans and poorly-disguised extraterrestrials will remind some readers of the Men in Black films. This is a wholesome, rollicking, high-spirited caper, ideal for tweens and early teens, including male reluctant readers. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—When Jimbo hears that he might be expelled from school, his best friend has a plan to find out if the rumor is true. The two boys hide a walkie-talkie in the teacher's lounge, but end up hearing more than they planned on. Soon they are being pursued by people with amazing powers who lead them on a chase across England to places beyond their wildest dreams. The well-paced, rollicking story line vacillates between hair-raising and hilarious. The relationships between the three main characters, especially the love-hate relationship Jimbo has with his leather-clad, motorcycle-riding older sister, are realistic and charming. Even the secondary characters are unique and interesting. Julian Rhind-Tutt reads Mark Haddon's book (Random/David Fickling Books, 2010) with a pronounced blue-collar British accent. He reproduces the cadences and idioms of a London teen with delightful authenticity and makes each character sound unique. This book contains language that might be offensive to some, but the swearing is in keeping with the age of the characters and the setting. Some British slang might be unfamiliar, but the meaning is usually discernable in context. Jimbo's adventure is much lighter and less philosophical than Only You Can Save Mankind (HarperCollins, 2006), but has some Pratchett-like random spontaneity. A great choice for reluctant readers, especially boys, and anyone who is in the mood for a bit of fun.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
In the wake of his Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), Haddon offers a slighter but nonetheless hilarious update of a tale originally published in 1993 as Gridzbi Spudvetch! Overhearing two seemingly dorky teachers speaking in an unknown tongue, Jimbo and Charlie start poking around-and find themselves in deeper dutch than they could have imagined. It seems that Earth is being checked out by murderous space aliens as a candidate for invasion or maybe total destruction, depending on their mood. Threats from a laser-fingered stranger and Charlie's sudden disappearance cast Jimbo and his ill-tempered but resourceful goth big sister Becky into a mad dash to the Isle of Skye, where the aliens have secreted their one "Weff-Beam" station. Jimbo finds himself beamed to Planet Plonk, where he finds Charlie-and a colony of kidnapped sci-fi fans too dazzled at being on another planet to want to escape. Jimbo's self-effacing narration accommodates both the looniness and the earth-bound emotional ups and downs of adolescents. In all, a well-knit tale that hurtles down a logical path to a satisfying conclusion . . . .well worth a second chance. (Science fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385752244
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 481,841
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

MARK HADDON is an author, illustrator, and screenwriter who has written 15 books for children and won two BAFTAs. His bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was published simultaneously by Jonathan Cape and David Fickling in 2003 in the U.K. It won 17 literary prizes, including the Whitbread Award, and is an international bestseller. Mark Haddon lives in Oxford, England.
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Read an Excerpt

I was on the balcony eating a sandwich. Red Leicester and gooseberry jam. I took a mouthful and chewed. It was good but not a patch on strawberry jam and Cheddar. That was my best yet.

I spent a lot of time on the balcony. The flat was tiny. Sometimes it felt like living in a submarine. But the balcony was amazing. The wind. The sky. The light. You could see the 747s circling slowly in the stack, waiting for a space on the runway at Heathrow. You could watch police cars weaving their way through the tiny streets like toys, their sirens whooping.

You could see the park too. And on this particular morning you could see, in the middle of the huge expanse of grass, a solitary man holding a metal box in his hands. Buzzing high above his head you could just make out a model helicopter, banking and swerving like a dragonfly.

Dad has always been crazy about models. Trains, planes, tanks, vintage cars. But after he lost his job at the car factory it became the biggest thing in his life. To be fair, he was brilliant. Give him a brick and a rubber band and he’d have it looping the loop before you could say, ‘Chocks away!’ But it didn’t seem right somehow. It was a hobby for little boys and weird blokes who still lived with their mums.

A flock of pigeons clattered past and I heard the sound of a familiar motorbike engine. I looked down and saw Craterface’s large black Moto Guzzi turn into the estate car park. My darling sister, Becky, was on the seat behind him, a grimy leather jacket over her school uniform.

She was sixteen. I could remember the time, only a couple of years back, when she tied her hair in bunches and had pony posters on her bedroom wall. Then something went badly wrong in her brain. She started listening to death metal and stopped washing her armpits.

She met Craterface at a gig six months ago. He was nineteen. He had long greasy hair and enormous sideburns with bits of breakfast stuck in them. When he was younger he had spots. They’d gone now, but they’d left these holes behind. Hence the nickname. His face looked like the surface of the moon.

He had the brain of a toilet brush. Mum, Dad and I were in complete agreement about this. Becky, however, thought he was God’s Gift to Women. Why she fancied him, I haven’t a clue. Perhaps he was the only person who could stand her armpits.

The bike rumbled to a halt ten storeys below and I experienced a moment of utter madness. Without thinking, I peeled off half my sandwich, leaned out and let go. I realized almost immediately that I had done a very, very stupid thing. If it hit them I would be murdered.

The slice wobbled and flipped and veered left and veered right. Craterface turned off the engine, got off the bike, removed his helmet and looked up towards the flat. I felt sick.

The slice hit him in the face and stuck, jammy side down. For a couple of seconds Craterface just stood there, absolutely motionless, the slice of bread sitting there like a face pack. Becky was standing beside him, looking up at me. She was not a happy bunny.

Now, normally you can’t hear much from the balcony, on account of the traffic. But when Craterface tore the sandwich off and roared, I think they probably heard him in Japan.

He stormed towards the doors but Becky grabbed his wrist and dragged him to a halt. She wasn’t worried about me. She’d have quite liked him to kill me. Just not in the flat. Because that would get her into trouble.

Craterface finally saw sense. He waved his fist and shouted, ‘You’re dead, scum!’ climbed onto the Moto Guzzi and thundered away in a gust of dirty grey fumes.

Becky turned and strode towards the door. I looked down at the rest of my sandwich and realized that I no longer felt very hungry. There was no one in the car park now so I dropped this half too, and watched it wobble and flip and veer and land neatly beside the first slice.

At which point the balcony door was kicked open. I said, ‘It was an accident,’ but Becky screamed, ‘You little toad!’ and hit me really hard on the side of the head, which hurt quite a lot.

For a couple of seconds everything went double. I could see two Beckys and two balconies and two rubber plants. I didn’t cry, because if I cried Becky would call me a baby, which was worse than being hit. So I hung onto the rail until the pain died down and there was only one Becky again.

‘What did you do that for?’ I asked. ‘It didn’t land on you. It landed on Craterface.’

She narrowed her eyes. ‘You are so lucky he didn’t come up here and hit you himself.’

She was right, really. Craterface had a black belt in kung fu. He could kill people with his ears.

‘And another thing,’ she hissed. ‘His name is Terry.’

‘Actually, I’ve heard his name is Florian. He just pretends to be called Terry.’ I stepped backwards to avoid the second punch but it never came. Instead, Becky went very quiet, leaned against the railing and nodded slowly. ‘That reminds me,’ she said, in a sinisterly pleasant way. ‘There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.’

‘What?’

‘Amy and I were in the staff room the other day, talking to Mrs Cottingham.’ Becky took a packet of cigarettes from the pocket of her leather jacket and lit one very slowly, as if she were in a black and white film.

‘Smoking’s bad for you,’ I said.

‘Shut your ugly mouth and listen.’ She sucked in a lungful of smoke. ‘We overheard Mr Kidd talking about you.’

‘What was he saying?’

‘Bad things, Jimbo. Bad things.’ This had to be a wind-up. But she wasn’t smiling. And it didn’t sound like a wind-up.

‘What bad things?’ I pulled nervously at the rubber plant and one of the leaves came off in my hand.

‘That you’re lazy. That you’re a nuisance.’

‘You’re lying.’ I slid the leaf of the rubber plant down the back of the deckchair.

‘According to Mr Kidd your work is rubbish. According to Mr Kidd – and this is the really good bit – they’re thinking of sending you to that school in Fenham. You know, that special place for kids with problems.’ She blew a smoke ring.

‘That’s not true.’ I felt giddy. ‘They can’t do that.’

‘Apparently they can.’ She nodded. ‘Jodie’s brother got sent there.’ She stubbed out her cigarette in one of the plant pots and flicked it over the railing. ‘Jodie said it’s like a zoo. You know, bars on the windows, kids howling all the time.’

The glass door slid open and Mum stepped out onto the balcony holding one of her shoes in her hand.

‘Hello, you two,’ she said, wiping the sole of the shoe with a wet cloth. ‘Honestly, the mess on this estate. I just trod on a half-eaten sandwich, of all things.’

I turned round so that Mum couldn’t see my face, and as I did so I saw, in the distance, Dad’s helicopter clip the top of a tree, burst into flames, spiral downwards and land in the gravel of the dog toilet, scaring the living daylights out of a large Dalmatian.

Dad threw the control box to the ground and lay facedown on the grass, hammering it with his fists.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    :(

    This is only in spanish which i can read some of, but not all. This might be the greateast book ever, but people who dont speak spanish will never know. SAD :(

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Im here for s.ex

    Im a girl i have black hair and pale skin. I wanna bef.ucked hard.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2012

    Mia

    A tall olive skin girl with long black hair and hazel eyes waited. She had huge round b00bs and tight h0le.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 1, 2011

    i love it

    i love boom! it is one of my favorite books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2014

    Jeremy to madi go to aphrodite

    Res.1

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

    Wal

    F..ucks lauren hard

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    Lauran

    I want co..ck in my pu...sssy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014

    WHAT THE FUDGE

    Loser

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    X

    Walks back in

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    Bek

    Im here

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014

    YOUR JUST WRONG

    Ugh

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    H

    H

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    Death Twins Of The Fire Arena, part two

    YO! NEXT PART AT RESULT TWO! ---- My boyfriend Nico Di Angelo has been off doing something for Hades. I have always felt that Hades had a grudge on me. My skin is paler than usual because it's winter and my lips are clear and white as ice. A thin and delicate, cold hand appears on my shoulder. A soft voice echoes in my mind. "Sophie." It says in a soft whisper. It sounds warm and comfortable. I turn and see Nico. My mouth curves into a smile. "Nico. Hey." I mutter. My voice cracks whe I say his name. We usually ge along and stay in silence, but he broke it." Have you heard what Chiron was talking to Rachel about? Something about survival games. And uh. . . A fire arena? "He asked. I knitted my eyebrows. "Uh. . No." I said. A sour taste filled my mouth, which happens when I'm depressed. ---NEXT PART AT RESULT TWO! FEEDBACK AT MAYBE REULT ONE!-DTOTFA

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2013

    Hopelion

    He yawned

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Watches bombstar

    Flameborne

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Moonwillow

    Pads in( i am in neeof a mated)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    No

    No in rp never mind

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Vinetail

    A slender light grey she cat with green eyes walks in. She looks at Bombstar happily and asks "may i join?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Helpless

    Now?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    Hey whats up :)

    Lol i just love how this rating this is used for telling others about the book but most of us are using it to have a boyfriend
    Also i havevblond hair with some brown heigh lights that r natural and i love to surf and snowboard and i am a very smart and nice girl and i pay soccer lacrosse basketball and volleyball and i say i am one of the best pyer on thos sport teams and even my coaches say that lastly i love boys who r athletic and smart and who r hottttttt so call me maybe

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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