Saturday, August 26, 2023

Today's read... Too Many Interesting Things Are Happening To Ethan Fairmont by Nick Brooks

by Nick Brooks
Union Square Kids
Middle Grade Science Fiction
224 pages
ages 8 to 12

NOVEMBER 14th!!!

Nick Brooks, award-winning filmmaker and author of  Promise Boys , mixes out-of-this-world sci-fi with contemporary themes of friendship, community, and social justice in this hit middle-grade series.
Ferrous City is suddenly a lot more interesting—in fact, a little too interesting for Ethan Fairmont.

Ethan’s beloved neighborhood is full of new faces. Lifelong residents are being priced out of their homes, and new businesses are replacing old favorites. At school, Ethan finds a rival in new-kid Fatima, an inventor who is just as science savvy as him. She even has TWO patents! Then there’s the mysterious real estate agent with way too many questions for Ethan. Not to mention the extraterrestrial-obsessed Jodie and his “Aliens Are Here” club.
It’s all too much for Ethan and he begins to miss Cheese, his adorable six-eyed alien pal, even more. Fortunately for Ethan and his friends Kareem and Juan Carlos, distraction comes in the form of a top-secret project. Cheese left a communication device under Ethan’s bed before exiting the planet. There’s just one they can’t figure out how it works!
As Ferrous City continues to change and eyes are everywhere, will the trio be able to keep their secret and reach Cheese, or is something nefarious brewing right next door?
E.T.  meets  Stranger Things  in the second title of this unforgettable sci-fi adventure series, perfect for readers ages 8 to 12.

GOODREADS    /    AMAZON    /    B&N


Alien action mixes with friendship and school drama...but it's the goo, which the reader needs to watch out for.

Cheese has returned to space, leaving Ethan a little worried, since he's not sure his friend is truly safe. But then, life in Why has become unsettled as more and more people are moving in from the larger cities to find jobs and houses are being sold. Even his parents are considering putting their house on the market. School doesn't offer any more stability as a new girl causes more than a little competition for Ethan in the inventor category. When she gets placed in his group for a school project, things get sticky because he's hoping to use the assignment to spend more time working on a way to communicate with Cheese. But the stakes are about to shoot up to extremes because signs of goo are popping up, and that means the dangerous aliens are there, too.

I enjoyed this second novel more than the first in the series, and found it to be grabbing from beginning to end. Ethan has now settled into a balance between life, aliens, and his inventions. Him and his friends understand each other well, his family is life as always, and he even has the chance to really sink into his hobby and shine. With the world and character building of the first book settled, this one (while still holding character arc, learning and depth) allows for the adventure to take off. And the author doesn't disappoint on that end, either.

The title on this one is long but oh-so fitting. Ethan's problems mount and mount to form a nice weave of sub-plots...and these do all filter together at the end. The social drama, while present, is just the right amount to make the characters sympathetic and easy to connect with, while not dampening the adventure's quicker pacing. The secrets and hints of danger are well-laid, some more obvious than others. This builds the tension nicely and gives hints without completely giving away the ending, which is great for the audience level.

The science fiction end packs a bit of imagination and some tech-fun. The aliens add a nice touch of fantasy, while the inventions hit on a level which can inspire readers to try to build things on their own. A pile of parts to screw, wire, and alter to form something new is more than exciting, and not just for future engineers and scientists. This is a read with more than a little to enjoy.

And here is he...

Nick Brooks is an author and award-winning filmmaker. His short film Hoop Dreamin’ earned him the George Lucas Scholar Award and he was a finalist in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Film Fest. His short film Bee won the James Bridges and Jack Larson Award for Writing and Directing and premiered at the American Black Film Festival. A rising star, Brooks is poised to be a breakout author with his debut middle-grade novel, Nothing Ever Happens to Ethan Fairmont, and his YA debut title, Promise Boys. Nick currently lives in Los Angeles, California, and is originally from Washington, D.C. Visit Nick at

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