Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review of London Calling by Edward Bloor

Knopf Books for
Young Readers
London Calling
by Edward Bloor
3 Scribbles
Martin Conway lives in the shadow of his grandfather’s memory, who lived at the American Embassy in London during WWII and served the famous General “Hollerin’ Hank” Lowery. In fact, the prep school Martin attends is funded in Lowery’s memory, and Lowery’s grandson attends there also, bullying Martin and the other “Scholarship” kids. Martin longs to go to Garden State Middle and escape the family legacy, so much so that he sinks into a deep depression. And it is one evening, in the midst of this sadness that Martin drifts off to sleep and into the London Blitz.  He witnesses thousands being bombed to death, and one boy in particular who asks for his help.  Is Martin going crazy? Or, does the radio he inherited from his grandmother have mystical powers? Martin must search to find the answer, to “do his bit” to help the victims of the Blitz of 1940, and while he does so, he discovers several startling secrets. Bloor does an excellent job at showing how depression can be passed down through generations, and while Martin’s speech is a bit stilted for a middle school-aged child, the reader will still be able to identify with Martin’s fears.  (Martin does, after all, attend an elite prep school.) With a “reveal” at the end and sweet, guiltless justice, the reader will leave this mystery satisfied and with a new interest in WWII history.

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