Friday, February 3, 2023

Today's read... Nothing Interesting Ever Happens to Ethan Fairmont by Nick Brooks

 It's fun adventure time! When I heard this book was about an alien named Cheese...because it loves cheese...I was already more than a little curious. Add a guinea pig, a tinkerer with talent, and forming friendship while diving into insane adventure...and yeah, this one sounded like it might be a fun read.

by Nick Brooks
Union Square Kids
Middle Grade Science Fiction / Adventure
240 pages
ages 8 to 12

Something cool happening in Ferrous City? Not a chance.
Until one day . . . when self-proclaimed genius inventor Ethan Fairmont runs into an abandoned car factory to avoid a local bully and accidentally stumbles across his ex-best friend Kareem, new kid Juan Carlos, and an extraterrestrial visitor. Cheese (the alien) is stuck on Earth in need of some serious repairs, spicy snacks—and absolute, total secrecy. That’s easier said than done when mysterious agents descend on Ferrous City to search for Cheese. With time running out and their family and friends in potential danger, can Ethan, Kareem, and Juan Carlos pull off an intergalactic rescue before they’re all found out?



Adventure abounds in this quick-paced read which packs in an alien to adore, friendship, tense moments, and a main character, who has a lively personality.

Ethan is a genius, who can build anything out of anything...although his parents aren't always excited to have their stuff go missing. He also has a tough time making friends. When a new boy moves in across the street, his mother insists he stop by and say hello, but Ethan has other plans. He needs to finish his robot at his secret hide-out. But not only does the new kid keeps stumbling in on him, but there's now an alien to deal with.

This is a energetic, adventure-packed read with a trio of main characters to jump right in with. It takes a bit of weaving for the three to get on friendship terms (one of the themes), but when they do, it's a great fit...and they need to work together considering what they're dealing with. Each character holds personality and rounds off the other as they head up against amazing odds and situations, exactly the kind to draw readers in and keep them wondering how things will turn out in the end. Of course, the alien adds a nice twist and lets fantasy fly. And then, there's the adults... the family situations can be sticky but have warmth and support, while other characters make life more than difficult. I had to smile at one of Ethan's comments—adults assume they understand kids, since they were once kids, but never think about asking if a monster chased them home or not. (I'm going to be asking my kids all sorts of weird things now).

The writing keeps this tale moving. The dialogue holds punch, humor, and heart, while feeling natural and letting the characters come to life. I was a little disappointed to see Ethan's own constant claim of being a genius without any shown backing (outside of inventions with no real basis). There are too many books out there for this age group, which dribble in, at least, a miniscule amount of actual terminology, research, or know-how. This book isn't pure ridiculous humor, so a tiny bit would have gone miles. Otherwise, it's a fun read and let's imagination loose in all the right ways. I could see many readers wishing they could join the trio in on the fun and help save the alien, too.

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