Stealing Air

Stealing Air

5.0 4
by Trent Reedy
     
 

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You can't just ask for the chance to fly . . .

When his dad announced they were moving to Iowa, Brian looked forward to making some new friends. But on his first day there he makes an enemy instead -- Frankie Heller, the meanest kid in town. Brian needs to hang out with someone cool to get back on track. . . .

Alex has always been the coolest guy around, and

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Overview


You can't just ask for the chance to fly . . .

When his dad announced they were moving to Iowa, Brian looked forward to making some new friends. But on his first day there he makes an enemy instead -- Frankie Heller, the meanest kid in town. Brian needs to hang out with someone cool to get back on track. . . .

Alex has always been the coolest guy around, and good with money, just like his dad. But now the family is struggling, and he needs to make some cash to keep up appearances. Then an opportunity falls in his lap . . . .

Max is a scientific genius, but his parents are always busy with their own work. Building an actual plane should get their attention -- if only he wasn't scared of heights . . .

The answer to all three boys' problems starts with Max's secret flyer. But Frankie and the laws of popularity and physics stand in their way. Can they work together in time to get their plan AND their plane off the ground?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reedy (Words in the Dust) delivers a light story about friendship that wavers between fantasy and small-town realism. Brian has reluctantly left Seattle because his parents have teamed up with an Iowa professor to manufacture an ultra-light polymer dubbed "Plastisteel" under their company name, Synthtech. Showing off on his skateboard, Brian draws unwelcome attention from a bully and is rescued by the son (nicknamed Mad Max) of his parents' business partners. After the theft of Plastisteel samples lands Synthtech on shaky financial ground, Mad Max includes Brian in a top-secret venture of his own: the construction of an experimental flier (with exactly zero safety features) that they believe will convince an investor to sink millions into Synthtech. While Brian and Mad Max's attempts at flight should thrill readers who fantasize about amateur aviation, Reedy strikes some false notes: the boys' preferred diversions of The Beatles and Star Trek are outdated, and a romantic subplot is extraneous. The farfetched premise that a risky flight by two sixth-graders can rescue a high-tech startup doesn't quite earn the necessary suspension of disbelief to achieve liftoff. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Tima Murrell
Three young boys with stolen airplane material can only lead to disaster. Brian is getting ready to attend a new school because of his dad's new job. He enjoys skateboarding, flying airplanes, and hanging out with his friends. But his dad sold their Cessna to pay for the new business and Brian has to make new friends. But his first day of meeting people does not exactly end well. He makes an enemy of the local bully, gets befriended by a social outcast, and must begin keeping secrets from his family. Brian must decide how to handle the bully, commit social suicide, and fly a plane without a cockpit in this wild and crazy tale of boys growing up. If he can make the right decisions then he will be able to make lifelong friends, save his dad's business and stay alive. Young boys will revel in the daring exploits and moan with sympathy at the stories of school and social life. The book is about life, decisions, and trust. While the crazy stunts that are pulled are not for the timid, the message is something that parents would want their child to hear. Reviewer: Tima Murrell
Kirkus Reviews
Skateboarders, boy or girl, will know the terms getting air, half-pipe and ollie, but, can three boys "steal" enough air to fly a homemade airplane? Brian, a skateboarder newly moved to Iowa, Max, a Trekkie and inventor, and Alex, an oddsmaker and entrepreneur, band together to secretly build an airplane. Getting it to fly depends on Plastisteel, a steel-infused polymer, which Brian's parents and Max's mother are trying to manufacture. The setup is obvious from the start: The boys will use their plane to demonstrate to a potential investor that Plastisteel will work and save the company. Even with Brian's flying experience with his dad and Max's brains, the first two attempts fail (of course), but their persistence pays off, and the third succeeds. Plot threads of bullying, a bit of romance, peer pressure, a pigout eating contest and good-old-fashioned ingenuity keep the story moving. Implausibility is sky-high, but the boys' determination will keep readers going. Tankfuls of aeronautical know-how may deter some readers; numerous references to Beatles music are balanced by the thoroughly modern devices they play on. Part Hardy Boys, part Gary Paulsen, part Skateboard Magazine for Kids, this can appeal to mechanical-minded, skateboarding enthusiasts. (Fiction. 9-13)
From the Publisher

Praise for STEALING AIR:

"[Reedy] nails the angst of the middle-school lunchroom, the tentativeness of a first boy-girl relationship, and the mood of a family who has pulled up their roots for a new opportunity that's not going as well as hoped. This is a solid story that will ring true to readers for many years to come." -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

"Reedy does a wonderful job with his characters: Brian encounters numerous life trials, while other characters add depth and emotion. Boys will enjoy the story, especially the attempt of building an airplane, as well as the encounter with the bully. This is a great choice for any reader, but especially for those who enjoy adventure." -- LIBRARY MEDIA CONNECTION

Children's Literature - Laura Backman
Brian looked forward to making some new friends when his dad announced they were moving to Iowa. But on his first day there, he makes an enemy instead. Brian needs to hang out with some cool kids to get back on track. Alex has been the coolest guy around and is always trying to make himself a few bucks. Max is a scientific genius, but his parents are so busy with their own work they have not noticed him, or that he has created a secret hideout and is building an actual plane. The three adventurous sixth-grade boys start to depend on each other, and in Max's secret plane, to get what they want. The characters are well-developed, although Max's super intelligence, his vocabulary, and the boys' young age are not believable. The three are far too sophisticated, more like high school students. The plot moves along nicely and there are some great suspenseful moments. The bullying element is a major theme and the quandary Brian has of being friends with Max the nerd, adds a deeper level to the plot. Because of the skateboarding, rocket bike, flyer, and food contest, it is sure to appeal to middle grade boys. Reviewer: Laura Backman
School Library Journal
Gr 4�6—Reedy's novel has secrets, homemade rocket ships, romance, bullying, skateboarding, and friendship-plenty to capture the interest of readers. Sixth-grader Brian has moved to a new town in Iowa. He decides that the local skating park might be the best place to meet some kids before school starts. That's where his troubles begin. First, he out-skates the town bully, and then his heart ends up in his throat when the lone girl skater removes her helmet, leading Brian to think "This girl was an angel." Despite his rocky start, Brian finds friends and begins constructing an airplane in a secret lab with them. But will they ever get it in the air? Reedy's tween characters are mostly authentic, but he goes a bit overboard with Star Trek-loving nerd Max, whose stilted language is hard to believe. Otherwise, he nails the angst of the middle-school lunchroom, the tentativeness of a first boy-girl relationship, and the mood of a family who has pulled up their roots for a new opportunity that's not going as well as hoped. This is a solid story that will ring true to readers for many years to come.—Margo Hastings, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545383073
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2012
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
884,249
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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