Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter

( 5 )

Overview

Thrills. Danger. And world domination. Itch is as action-packed and suspenseful as a novel for young readers can get!

Fourteen-year-old Itchingham Lofte, nicknamed Itch, has an unusual passion: collecting specimens of every element in the periodic table. So what if that means he's had a few ... mishaps? But when he gets his hands on a suspiciously warm rock made of a new, previously unknown element, things really begin to explode. Soon, a malevolent teacher, an evil-doing ...

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Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter

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Overview

Thrills. Danger. And world domination. Itch is as action-packed and suspenseful as a novel for young readers can get!

Fourteen-year-old Itchingham Lofte, nicknamed Itch, has an unusual passion: collecting specimens of every element in the periodic table. So what if that means he's had a few ... mishaps? But when he gets his hands on a suspiciously warm rock made of a new, previously unknown element, things really begin to explode. Soon, a malevolent teacher, an evil-doing corporation, and a top-secret government agency are all after Itch. Can his science know-how keep him one step ahead of everyone...and help him stay alive?
 
A 2013 Parents' Choice Award Winner: Silver Medal.
 

Cover and jacket flap feature augmented reality animations via a free downloadable Itch app! 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British radio personality Mayo makes his YA debut with this thriller, which sees 14-year-old Itchingham “Itch” Lofte pursued by everyone from unscrupulous scientists to government agents when he comes into possession of a radioactive rock that is actually a heretofore undiscovered element. For Itch, who collects elements from the periodic table (calcium from a seashell, fluorine from a Teflon frying pan, etc.), it’s a strange new treasure. For the disgraced Dr. Flowerdew, it’s an opportunity to curry favor with his former employers. For everyone in contact with the mysterious element 126, it’s a slow, painful death from radiation poisoning. Itch, his sister, and their cousin must dispose of element 126 before it falls into the wrong hands—or kills them. Mayo balances the high-stakes plot and serious reality of radiation poisoning with an underlying absurdity, particularly the over-the-top nastiness of Flowerdew and his compatriots. It’s an action-packed adventure with some chuckle-worthy moments, appealing protagonists, and a premise derived from plausible scientific theory. Readers will never look at common household objects the same way again. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sam Copeland, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"Collecting stamps is boring. Why not start a more exciting collection, like dangerous elements?
Itchingham Lofte never meant to get himself, his cousin, and his sister sick with radiation poisoning. He never meant to attract the attention of heartless corporations and evil terrorist groups. He certainly never meant to provoke his science teacher into attack mode. But Itch has an unusual, dangerous hobby—he collects the elements from the Periodic Table. And when one of his contacts delivers an unusual rock, Itch is thrilled. Instead of being afraid, he's excited when the Geiger counter at school goes wild in reaction to the radioactive rock. But then begins the complicated task of finding a safe place for the amazing rock—and seven more just like it—while avoiding the ruthless people who want to use the element toward disastrous ends. British radio host and debut novelist Mayo delivers a fun, frightening, gutsy adventure story populated by heroic young people who refuse to back down from their save-the-world mission, even as their treasure renders them sick. These kids are smart enough to worry about their choices but moral enough to know their choices will make a political difference on a global scale.
Fans of science will love its central role, and those readers who crave adrenalin[e] will appreciate the view from the edge of their seats." —Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW) 
 
"It's an action-packed adventure with some chuckle-worthy moments, appealing protagonists, and a premise derived from plausible scientific theory. Readers will never look at common household objects the same way again." —Publishers Weekly

 
"Mayo tells a good story with a mix of action, characters with verisimilitude, and a painless dose of science. This rollicking adventure should have appeal far beyond chemistry geeks.” —School Library Journal

“A great debut. You'll be itching to read more!” —Anthony Horowitz, New York Times bestselling author of the Alex Rider series
 
“You'd have to work quite hard not to like Itchingham Lofte. . . amid the teenage intrigue and heart-in-mouth escapades there are sequin flashes of real science. . . the story [moves along] in a high-speed Hitchcockian manner...” —The Guardian

School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—In this fast-paced debut, 14-year-old Itchingham Lofte collects chemical elements. In the first few chapters, he manages to blow up some phosphorus in his room at home and then poisons his entire class with arsenic. These events pale in comparison to the trouble caused by the latest addition to his collection. Itch's supplier gives him a rock that "might be uranium ore" to make up for the arsenic fiasco, but it turns out to be something unique and highly radioactive when tested by his surly chemistry teacher. Dr. Flowerdew steals Itch's rock in order to curry favor with his previous employer, the petroleum giant Greencorps. With the help of his cousin Jacqueline, Itch steals it back and then he, Jack, and his younger sister must figure out what to do with the dangerous stone. They enlist the help of their geology teacher, but in the end they must face Flowerdew, Greencorps minions, and radiation sickness with only their wits and a few choice elements that happen to be in Itch's backpack. The teen's choices that leave him without adult help make sense, unlike some other stories that pit youthful protagonists against adult adversaries. Mayo tells a good story with a mix of action, characters with verisimilitude, and a painless dose of science. This rollicking adventure should have appeal far beyond chemistry geeks.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Collecting stamps is boring. Why not start a more exciting collection, like dangerous elements? Itchingham Lofte never meant to get himself, his cousin and sister sick with radiation poisoning. He never meant to attract the attention of heartless corporations and evil terrorist groups. He certainly never meant to provoke his science teacher into attack mode. But Itch has an unusual, dangerous hobby--he collects the elements. And when one of his contacts delivers an unusual rock, Itch is thrilled. Instead of being afraid, he's excited when the Geiger counter at school goes wild in reaction to the radioactive rock. But then begins the complicated task of finding a safe place for the amazing rock--and seven more just like it--while avoiding the ruthless people who want to use the element toward disastrous ends. British radio host and debut novelist Mayo delivers a fun, frightening, gutsy adventure story populated by heroic young people who refuse to back down from their save-the-world mission, even as their treasure renders them sick. These kids are smart enough to worry about their choices but moral enough to know their choices will make a political difference on a global scale. Fans of science will love its central role, and those readers who crave adrenalin will appreciate the view from the edge of their seats. (Adventure. 10-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781454905097
  • Publisher: Splinter
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Series: Itch Series , #1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 277,950
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Mayo is one of Britain's best-loved and well-known radio DJs. He works for BBC radio, and in 2008 he was recognized as the “radio broadcaster of the year” at the 34th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and the “Speech Broadcaster of the Year” at the Sony Radio Academy Awards. Itch is his first novel, and he's working on a sequel, Itch Rocks!, scheduled for 2014. Simon lives in England.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I was never big on chemistry when I was in high school. I¿ve eve

    I was never big on chemistry when I was in high school. I’ve even been avoiding it at all costs all through college. It’s safe to say that Itchingham Lofte, the main character in Itch, is my completely opposite… but I loved him anyways. What a great character! Itch was a collector. His goal was to collect every single element in the periodic table. That’s 118 for the people like me who had no idea. That’s a hefty goal. This is exactly why I loved this book, the plot and the characters were definitely unique! What other 14 year old sets his mind on collecting all the elements? Not many.




    I really liked that the main character was such an unusual protagonist. He was amazing. Itch was kind of strange and he tended to experiment in his room, which usually ended in disaster. I have to say that one of the best things about Itch was his sister. Unlike some other middle grade fiction books that I’ve read, Itch actually had a close relationship with his sister. They talked, bonded, and tolerated each other. I love sibling bonding in books, when it’s done right, and Chloe was an essential part in Itch. Chloe being in the book showed that Itch was not just all about science. He was a caring and attentive brother. I just loved that.




    Itch was very much a family oriented book. Itch’s cousin, Jack, was also a big part of the book. Jacqueline, or Jack as she was called, was Itch’s only friend and though she didn’t feel the same way about chemistry and the elements, she did everything she could to help him every time he needed help.




    Besides the amazing main characters, the plot of Itch was outstanding. The way that everything developed was great. I loved that the story line was not at all what I expected. A little problem turned into a massive catastrophe of a situation and I just could not turn the pages fast enough! The pacing was great and I loved how everything unfolded. It was very exciting and I found myself reacting to all the crazy things that were happening.




    Another thing that I want to point out is that while Itch was the hero of this story, he had help from adults, which I thought was great. I don’t like seeing kids doing everything by themselves, sometimes they need help! The adults in the book were all pretty awesome too. Though there were a few that I would have liked to slap.




    Overall, Itch was a great, great book. I loved it! I loved the characters, the plot, basically everything. It was fun from beginning to end and it was even funny. This would be a perfect book for middle schoolers and, well, just about everyone! Go read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2013

    This book is so different from anything else in the middle grade

    This book is so different from anything else in the middle grade and young adult categories right now. It's really refreshing to read a book that is pure adventure. No magic, no aliens, no dystopian world. It is set in current day England and it is about a fourteen year old boy that collects elements from the periodic table.

    It is such an original idea. Nobody has done this before, and I love the author for coming up with something unique. *Hugs to the author!*

    Itch is an interesting character. On the one hand, he is the brilliant kid that gets bullied at school, on the other hand, he is brave and adventurous. He is not a perfect character. He gets scared after poisoning his entire class with arsenic and doesn't fess up. He constantly puts others in danger by keeping (and using) his element collection in public places and around other people. Not to mention that he involves his teacher, cousin, and little sister in his elemental mess. In spite of his many flaws, I really like Itch. He comes across as a believable fourteen year old boy with a weird hobby.

    The adventure part of the book is well thought out, carefully planned, and well executed. Flowerdew is fantastic. What an awesome lunatic. He is unpredictable and rash. While the book is rather unbelievable (what are the odds of a new element that will start a battle for world domination being discovered?), it comes across as being a situation you could actually see happening.

    The ending is perfect. I love it when an author finds a way to break the mold of adventure novels and deliver something new. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. Some of the suspense gets lost during the slower parts, but overall, this is a great book for middle grade and young adult readers. It will appeal most strongly to boys, but the girls will enjoy it as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Disapointing

    This made me sad

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 Stars ITCH is an exciting young adult adventure that follow

    3.5 Stars

    ITCH is an exciting young adult adventure that follows teenage science fanatic Itchingham "Itch" Lofte, whose science experiments and love of the elements has gotten him into more than a little trouble. When Itch gets his hands on an unknown rock and discovers a new element, his usual level of trouble escalates into real problems when an evil corporation comes after him trying to steal the rock. Itch must find a way to keep the element away from the wrong hands and keep himself alive in the meantime.

    This was a really interesting and fun young adult science fiction adventure novel. Itch is quite an unique main character. You don't see many teenage science geeks as the leading male in books. He is quirky but really likable and has a strong sense of morality and courage for someone his age. The plot was full of action and adventure, along with science fiction elements mixed in. The writing was well done and had me hooked from the first chapter. I was eager to see how Itch would get out of his dire predicaments and what would happen next. The book was fast paced, but wasn't rushed - it was a great speed to keep readers engaged in the story and the action happening in the book. Overall, Itch was a great character that I would love to read more about and I'm eager to see what the next book in the series will bring! Recommended for fans of science fiction and adventure novels.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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