Sunday, November 23, 2008

London Calling by Edward Bloor

So, once upon a time (okay, um, like a week and a half ago...), I had this brilliant (if not wholly original or especially imaginative) idea. Here I sat at my computer pondering the vastness of Google Reader and how uhm, every other blog seemed to be reviewing the same book. Now, I totally understand this - publishers and authors are looking to create a lot of buzz about books so that they can move some copies when it hits the shelves. This is perfectly understandable, as is the book blogger's desire to be "with the times" and reading and reviewing these newer books. And I've become a totally huge "offender" in this respect, too. I can hardly say that being a new book hound hasn't been an enjoyable experience. I've discovered a few gems in that way and stand to discover a fair few more. But all this other reading material that I've been busy accumulating over the rest of my life has really been getting the short shrift.

Well then, I thought, I kind of miss reviewing books that everybody on the earth isn't also reviewing at near about the same time. Hey, I bet books that were published before this year or even next year are probably still quite enjoyable. Huh, (now here's where the bright if unoriginal/unimaginative idea comes in...wait for it...), I should really read some of that stuff that I had sitting about on my shelves before I became a psycho "me want spiffy new books" book blogger. So (aha! I've got it!), I thought, you know what I'll do? I'll alternate - one spiffy new read (and review!) for every one equally valid book read from the great pre-exising Mountain of TBR lurking in every corner waiting to crush me. This, of course, only works if I actually comment in some way on the blog about the book I managed to pluck off Mount TBR and read. Oops. Now that I've actually gone ahead and finished my next "spiffy new book," it seems that I should really, in good conscience, should go back and say something about the very respectably decent Mount TBR read that I completed some time ago.

Of course, I intended to review it sooner. Alas, this past week was dysfunctional as every single week of mine seems to be lately. Somehow I managed to accomplish nothing especially meaningful "real life-wise" and yet still not A) keep up with the blogs in my Google reader (thought I did leave a thoughtful comment or few on the ones I *did* manage to peruse) or B) post a single freakin' word on my blog or C) finish another book. Okay, I just made the cut on that last one. That moves me up a bracket from abject failure to uh....average failure. But, please, that's enough about me and my complete inability to use my time wisely (unless of course, you count the daily two hour naps and the watching of things like "Top 15 Child Star Mug Shots" on TV as being a wise use of time...). I really must talk about this book so I can begin to assuage my feelings of failure before someone comes back to house to interrupt the peace and quiet that will hopefully enable me to so.

Edward Bloor's London Calling is a sweet YA read featuring the young John Martin Conway. Martin is stuck attending the private school where his mom works in order to give him the best of educational opportunity, but he'd just as soon go to public school rather than dealing with the rich, entitled jerks that terrorize him at All Souls Prep. The toxic atmosphere for a "scholarship" kid at All Souls combined with the death of his grandmother with whom he seemed to share a special spiritual connection are the straws that break the camel's back. Martin adamantly refuses to return to All Souls and resigns himself to residing in his basement bedroom after an embarassing altercation with Hank Lowery, grandson of General Henry "Hollerin' Hank" Lowery, a somewhat ambiguous figure of World War II whose family has done whatever could be done to cement his good, if possibly false, reputation.

Martin's existence in his basement bedroom is dismal and unlike living at all, that is, until the old fashioned radio he inherited from his grandmother begins to transport him back in time to London during the Blitz. There he meets Jimmy Harker who is determined to convince Martin to do "his bit." Whatever "bit" that might be, it's up to Martin to discover. Soon Martin finds himself doing extensive research to discover whether his encounters with Jimmy are, in fact, based in fact, or if he has begun to have elaborate historical dreams. In the process, Martin begins to live and enjoy life again, repair family ties, and even discover what he can do to help Jimmy even from the distant future. What emerges is a page-turner of a time travel story, a sweet coming of age story, and a good lesson about the significance of family ties and the importance of "doing your bit" to make a difference in the lives around you.

This was an enjoyable read for me as an adult, and I'm sure if the book had existed when I was in its target age range (probably the junior high age group, if I had to guess), it would have been one of my favorites. I always was big into historical fiction and a total time travel nut, so this was (and would have been) right up my alley!


  1. Oh Megan, you sure have a way of putting a smile on my face! I was laughing so much, I was *almost* sorry when you got to the review. Of course, I'm glad you did get to the review, because that sounds like a little gem of a book...and one I'd never even heard of. Which means I'm really glad you decided to hit up the old TBR mountain!

  2. You prolly already know this, but there's a RYOB (read your own books) challenge floating around the etharwebs for next year. I forget who's hosting it, but you can google it no problem. I officially don't do challenges anymore, but this one I will do.

  3. I like reading books that have been around a while, too, though lately I've been mostly reviewing new ones. This looks like an interesting book, thanks for digging it up!