Book-loving children and teens will find it hard to tear themselves away from this fantastically bitter-sweet tale of friendship, growing up…and time-hopping adventures.
In the first of what looks set to be a series of adventures for time-travelling bookworm Jodie Broom, author Julie Hodgson takes us on a thrilling hop skip and jump through history, seen through the eyes of a smart and engaging young heroine.
Jodie is 12 (“nearly 13!”) and in many ways she is like most young girls growing up in 2017 – she loves music, books, and hanging out with her friends.
But Jodie Broom is growing up in 2075 and in this future books have been banned for over 50 years.
There are no physical books, no newspapers; everything is consumed electronically – even food and music are simulated versions of the real thing. Robo-nannies are on childcare duties, and anybody found in possession of ‘real’ books faces stiff punishment.
Thankfully, Jodie is given a library card that allows her to venture into the past – setting the scene for a rollicking adventure and bring back some precious books to store in a secret hiding place.
But when her stash of contraband books is discovered, Jodie faces the wrath of teachers and parents, and the excitement steps up a gear as she and Pacman attempt to outsmart the authority figures.
Jumping through time zones at will, the pair meet a new friend, Kai, and all three set off on a challenge involving an intriguing cast of characters including Attila the Hun, and a kindly, bearded man who absolutely denies being an off-duty Santa Claus (as Jodie and her friends strongly suspect).
The book has moments of high tension, particularly when the youths make the somewhat unwise decision to zap themselves back to the deck of the Titanic.
And it’s a page-turner that doubles as a handy history lesson. From the Blitz to Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, the book visits pivotal moments in history, sneaking interesting facts and information about historical events into an addictive read.
Jodie and the Library Card has already picked up a string of awards – including a New Apple Award for Excellence, Readers’ Favourite Book Award and Wishing Shelf Book Award – and it’s not hard to see why.
In Jodie, the author has created an engaging, likeable and believable character for her target nine to 12-year-old audience, while the travels through the fourth dimension grip from the get-go.
That being said, parents picking up the book out of curiosity may well find themselves quickly drawn into the action, and learning a thing or two in the process, and it’s easy to imagine the book playing out on the silver screen.
With several more Jodie Broom books in the pipeline, this promises to be the start of something very enjoyable – and should inspire armies of young readers to appreciate the importance of books.
Jodie and the Library Card (Lulu Books) by Julie Hodgson is out now in paperback, priced £5.38. Visit jodieandthelibrarycard.com