Boomtown: Chang's Famous Fireworks

Boomtown: Chang's Famous Fireworks

by Nowen N. Particular
3.9 7


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Boomtown: Chang's Famous Fireworks 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Wrighty More than 1 year ago
have to admit that I'd never heard of this book before I found it online. I read the description and thought it sounded like something good that I would like to read and than could share it with my 9 year-old nephew. He loves to read and this sounded like his kind of thing. It's a really fun book.

Boomtown - Book One, Chang's Famous Fireworks Factory (stay away from the chickens) by Nowen N. Particular is first of all, quite a mouthful. And at 323 pages for a young adult read, it's quite a handful. But it's a good handful. Inside the front and back covers are maps of Boomtown and throughout the book and many old style black and white photos, line drawings and diagrams.They add an extra fun element and sense of authenticity to the story.

The story is told by Reverend Arthur Button who decided to move his family of five from the city in California to a small rural town in Washington in 1949. He accepted the job of pastor to enjoy the quiet life with friendly neighbors, a house with a yard and snow at Christmas. They found friendly but it was anything but quiet there. Their new home was also the location of a famous firework's factory. Fortunately the people who lived there loved to blow stuff up. And the Buttons became famous for blowing something up before they even reached their new house.

An unexpected stop on the way into town led to a "small" explosion at Chang's factory. A test went wrong, with some help from the Button children, and the fire was enormous. But in a place where everything is connected to the factory, where even the streets have names like Dynamite Drive and TNT Trail, this was just another experiment. Another day at work. Everyone took it in stride and welcomed them with open arms.

The Buttons feel right are home and immersed themselves in the charm of the small town. This was a place where community worked together as equals despite their varied backgrounds. They treasured their families, and worked hard. They were good people but they were also odd. Every day was a new adventure and the world was their playground. And they had a lot of fireworks to celebrate with. They weren't without their problems though. A mysterious string of robberies began occurring in the area. The Buttons also learned that there appeared to be some sort of "curse" on the reverends of the past. They had either died or disappeared. This was one tradition that Arthur Button would be happy not to pass on.

There are some aspects of the story that I wonder if they will be too complicated for the younger audience to understand but I don't think it really takes away from the overall story. The ending wasn't what I hoped for and I wonder how it will affect the next book in the series. Overall I found it to be a clever and entertaining story. The characters were interesting and I hope they will appear again in future books. There is also mystery behind the identity of the author. On the back cover is a blurb about the author traveling in disguise and keeping his location a secret. This is reminescent of Lemony Snickett and the Series of Unfortunate Events books. You can visit Nowan N. Particular and his Boomtown friends at

Thank you to Thomas Nelson books for this copy.
Wickle More than 1 year ago
The book reads like a series of short stories, really, rather than chapters. After reading the first story/chapter, you could skip around almost at will. Although the stories do build on each other and there are events which build up to the last few chapters, "Christmas in Boomtown," for example, could stand on its own pretty well. A trip to the museum is two chapters, and the trial at the end does span a few chapters, but other than that they could stand on their own.

I very much enjoyed this book. I was afraid when I started that the silliness would be overdone, and it would degenerate into simply blowing things up and each character being too much of a caricature. That wasn't the case. The characters are silly, but in a consistent way that feels more like we've simply defined a fantasy world.

Through the stories, we learn about the history of Boomtown, and the book does draw on some actual history (there is talk of the internment of the Japanese-Americans during World War II, for example), though mostly it focuses on local (fictional) history. The people, though, are good and neighborly. They just happen to enjoy blowing things up at every opportunity.

As the book brings the running story arc to a close, Rev. Button realizes that his son has been involved in a rash of thefts over the past year, and in turn realizes that he's neglected his relationship with his son.

Spiritually, the story does bring into play the theme of forgiveness, though it's possible to lose it in the quirkiness of the people of Boomtown. They do decide to forgive everyone involved in the thefts, but it's at least as much because they're impressed with the ingenuity of what they were doing as the grace they're showing.

When Rev. Button first meets his church for a worship service, the scene is a lot of fun. Boomtown Church is apparently what we'd call a contemporary-style worship service (though I'm not sure what it would have been called in 1949!). Rev. Button is amazed to see people clapping their hands, calling out favorite hymn titles to sing, and the like. He comes to love it, though.

Or so I thought.

I hated the ending of this book. Ask my wife. I was actually shocked when I reached the end.

Rev. Button packed up the family and left, after less than a year. He was afraid of being killed because Boomtown Church pastors have a short life-expectancy (there are rumors of a curse), and over the course of the book he's nearly killed half a dozen times by various explosives. After everything he'd learned about his son, the town, worship, and the kind of people in Boomtown, I find it inconceivable that he would really pack up and move to Seattle just because he's afraid of getting blown up! Through the last chapter, he kept encountering reasons to stay, and I was sure each time that THAT would be the one. I was wrong. They left.

Still, that is the only disappointment in the book. Perhaps, in the short story format, the author just wasn't sure how to bring it to a close. It stings because it was the end, but other than this, the book is a lot of fun. It's well worth the read.

As the narrator notes, after leaving, the rest of the world should be more like Boomtown.
PATTYANN More than 1 year ago
I am reading the book called Boomtown. the authors name is Nowen n, Particular. What a catchy writers name. The authors name sort of tells you how the book is written. I loved this book, it made me laugh out loud. I kept telling my hubby, listen to this you gotta hear it.

It is full of humor and innocent charm of a small town. It reminded me of books as a preteen I would read. I am an adult woman almost 50 and I love this book. I chose this book to review because of the title and the illustration on the cover and I am so glad that I did. It is about a family whose father is a pastor. They move from California to settle in Boomstown, on their arrival to the city, the major factory in town which makes fireworks was testing out a new firework. The two youngest children snuck out of the car and mischeviously flipped a switch and caused a huge commotion, it was hilarious. There are so many different stories in this one book, some telling humerous stoires of his role as the pastor in the church to telling of how the towns football team got its name to how the Slugs which is the name of the schools football team has never won a football game, until the night of heavy rains and brought the slugs out of the ground, I dare not continue. But, if you are looking for a easy read and humerous this is the book. With all of the news we hear and the stress we are all feeling this book is perfect to remind you of simpliar times and have a good laugh while your at it.
whatcarolreads More than 1 year ago
Boomtown by Nowen N. Particular (a.k.a. Marty Longe) is aimed at 8-12 year old boys and looks very promising. It's full of inventions, explosions, silly stuff, and bumbling adults who are rescued by children. Silliness is a core virtue in our household and I grew up with a brother who was forever inventing things and blowing things up so I was all set for a fun read but was disappointed.

For starters, the narrator/main character, Arthur Button, is an adult who doesn't have a clue to what's going on in his family or his new town. Since everything is observed and recorded through his eyes, the reader doesn't have a clue either. Two of the Button children are full of mischief and adventure and are the right age for readers to identify with but we only get to see what their father knows about their various escapades and thus end up missing out on a lot of the fun. We get bits and pieces of adventures and story lines but no real sense of involvement.

There's also not much in the way of plot development. Lots of things happen in the story and we're told about lots of wonderful inventions (like hen grenades and inflatable sky campers), but most of the bits and pieces feel jammed in there. It's as if the author has all these fun bits he wants to get into his story and isn't willing to sacrifice any of them for the sake of telling the story well. If this were a movie, it would be filled with special effects and explosions, very low on character development, and almost without plot - not my kind of film.

The illustrations were promising. I like the air of authenticity the faked photos and newspaper clippings give to the text. There are, however, some gaffs, the worst being a supposedly authentic ancient Chinese note with the text running in rows from left to right, and punctuated as if it were English. Many of Nowen N. Particular's readers will know that Chinese writing goes in columns from top to bottom, organized right to left.

If I were part of the editorial group for this book, I would suggest that the author cut out at least half of the escapades, string what's left into a proper story line, and tell it from the point of view of one of the children. Use the leftover bits in the next book. Be careful with the language, too. Over the course of just two pages, we had a sequestered jury and a venerable lawyer who liked to pontificate and decry. Rather challenging vocabulary for 8-12 year olds.

Try instead: Alcatraz versus the evil librarians.
jonathin More than 1 year ago
my class is reading this book and we are about 6 chapters in and it is hillarias i like the part with the old lady and whiskers
seatillini More than 1 year ago
What would it be like to move to a new town where the hostess of the welcome wagon greets you with a deluxe 150 pound box of Chang¿s famous fireworks? My 7 year old son and I just finished reading ¿Boomtown¿ and we are ready to move there. What kid (or parent) wouldn¿t want to live in a town where the people add fireworks and fun to every holiday? So in the spirit of celebrating the wonderful imagination that Boomtown inspires, I can tell you that Nowen N. Particular¿s book soars like a bottle rocket with mysterious turns, explodes with bigger than life characters that get into crazy situations and shines like a fountain of colorful sparks that celebrate being good, trusting your family, and caring for people that are not like you.

In Boomtown, a family moves from the craziness of life in California to a small town in Eastern Washington. Yes, there are white picket fences, a good old fashioned soda shop and a town sheriff that is kind. These are all of the things we expect to find in a rural Washington town in 1949. And yet, you wouldn¿t expect to find an ethnically diverse town where people actually work together as a community of equals. The mayor is a Japanese American war hero. The barber/butcher is Russian and Eskimo. The healthy economy of Boomtown is indebted to a Chinese explosives expert that helped build railroads and then built a famous fireworks factory. In Boomtown an ex-African slave is the town¿s most famous inventor. And, the Native American Hopontop Indians are among the most educated and wise people in the county. In Boomtown people are not judged by the color of their skin, the prestige of their occupation, or their level of wealth or education. The citizens of Boomtown have created a great sense of belonging with one another in spite of their diversity. Like I said earlier. . . I¿m ready to move there.

Another thing you might expect to find in a place like Boomtown is the dedication of townspeople towards their local High School football team. And yet, you might be surprised by the faithfulness of the fans as their good ole Stickville Slugs endure a 40 year history of getting slaughtered by every opponent. This was one of my son¿s favorite chapters as an ¿Act of God¿ helps the Slugs have a fighting chance of actually winning a game.

I recommend this book to anyone that likes adventure, inventions, and chickens that lay exploding eggs. Nowen¿s book challenged me and my son to express love and mercy to people that can be odd, different and difficult. We also learned that we should trust one another and tell each other the truth. This is the kind of book that I love reading to my son. This novel is wholesome and it paints a picture of the kind of community that I not only want to live in. . . I want to help create it. At the end of ¿Boomtown¿ my son¿s immediate comment was, ¿Dad, this is only book one! I can¿t wait for book two!¿

BTW - My son and I loved the illustrations, maps and photos that were sprinkled throughout every chapter.
Cathy-with-a-C More than 1 year ago
Boomtown, a middle grade story, opens promisingly enough. A preacher and his family move to Boomtown, where in short order, two of the children manage to blow something up! Boomtown is all about things going Boom!, so the townspeople welcome the newcomers with open arms. From the beginning, a reader gets the feeling that this will be an unusual story about an unusual town.

But a few story-telling aspects drag the plot and the story down with it. First, and foremost, the narrator of the story is the preacher. And a dull, stuffy preacher he is. I can't imagine a middle grader relating to his preachy point of view. The preacher's children, who may have been able to bring young readers into the story, are characters who never really come to life. Which is a shame, since the story hinges around the preacher's son's actions.

The plot, a mystery, is a bit on the dull side, too. The author throws in a few clues every once in awhile, but seems much more intent on talking about Boomtown and its peculiar inhabitants.

And the author does an awful lot of talking rather than showing, revving up the boring factor.

There were some humorous bits, some bursts of imagination, and the photographs/illustrations were interesting. The setting and premise of Boomtown was also unqiue. Too bad it was wasted on a poor plot and dry characters. In the end, Boomtown's promising bang fizzled out.