Synopses & Reviews
Martin Conway comes from a family filled with heroes and disgraces. His grandfather was a statesman who worked at the US Embassy in London during WWII. His father is an alcoholic who left his family. His sister is an overachieving Ivy League graduate. And Martin? Martin is stuck in between--floundering.
But during the summer after 7th grade, Martin meets a boy who will change his life forever. Jimmy Harker appears one night with a deceptively simple question: Will you help?
Where did this boy come from, with his strange accent and urgent request? Is he a dream? It's the most vivid dream Martin's ever had. And he meets Jimmy again and again--but how can his dreams be set in London during the Blitz? How can he see his own grandather, standing outside the Embassy? How can he wake up with a head full of people and facts and events that he certainly didn't know when he went to sleep--but which turn out to be verifiably real?
The people and the scenes Martin witnesses have a profound effect on him. They become almost more real to him than his waking companions. And he begins to believe that maybe he can help Jimmy. Or maybe that he must help Jimmy, precisely because all logic and reason argue against it.
This is a truly remarkable and deeply affecting novel about fathers and sons, heroes and scapegoats. About finding a way to live with faith and honor and integrity. And about having an answer to the question: What did you do to help?
"Bloor (Story Time; Tangerine) continues to demonstrate his range, this time mixing historical fiction with time travel in a poignant adventure story about fathers and sons. Martin Conway is a troubled scholarship student at a private Catholic school where his mother works. He has a run-in with Henry M. Lowery IV, whose family has established a million-dollar trust fund at the school in memory of their patriarch, a WWII hero. Martin exiles himself to a bedroom in the basement, first outfitted for his manic-depressive Uncle Bob as 'a place of shame,' and then used by his alcoholic father (before he left home). Oddly, Martin's life is reinvigorated when his grandmother dies, bequeathing to him an old Philco radio. One night, the radio magically transports him to 1940 London during the Blitz, and into the company of a boy named Jimmy, who insists he needs Martin's help with something very important. It's at this point (roughly a third of the way into the novel) that the narrative takes off, too, as Bloor deftly evokes the terror of wartime, weaving in interesting threads about U.S. diplomatic history (and allowing readers to witness for themselves the true nature of General Lowery's character). During a series of visits, Martin figures out not only how to answer the question Jimmy says everyone is asked when they die 'What did you do to help?' but the answers to many of his own questions as well. Have tissues on hand for the final pages. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Seventeen-year-old Matthew Walsh narrates this account of his tumultuous South Boston childhood with one of literature's most despicable mothers: Nikki is 34 when the book opens pretty, reckless and dangerously manipulative. Through the course of Werlin's (Double Helix) taut story, Matt and his sisters, Callie and Emmy, tiptoe around her mercurial behavior in a calculated effort to survive into adulthood hiding in their rooms when she brings strange men home, saying whatever they believe she wants to hear, doing whatever they must to avoid a violent outburst. The children's father and unmarried aunt know the kids are in danger, but their fear of Nikki outweighs their willingness to act. The novel unfolds as a letter Matt is writing to Emmy as he heads off to college. He possesses the insight of a teen who has rocketed into adulthood out of necessity. If some readers find his maturity implausible, Werlin deflects attention from his nearly dispassionate recollection with short chapters and a thread of palpable tension that will easily carry readers along to the hopeful ending. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Agent: Curtis Brown Ltd." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Edward Bloor is the author of the celebrated novel Tangerine which was an ALA Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, a Horn Book Fanfare Selection, and a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book. The author lives in Winter Garden, FL.