TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Book Review: Nolichuck! TJ's Wild Frontier Adventure by Jackson Keene

Synopsis:  TJ’s just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school: A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends.
Life is rough for TJ Cockrell.
And then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past. And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living! Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.
And he thought his present life was bad news! But TJ’s adventures are only beginning. Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, meets the young Davy Crockett, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and is befriended by a fantastic frontier family who really has it together.
When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person––but there's killers loose in his house, bullies waiting to beat him up at school, a pretty new girl at Highland High he's hasn't even seen yet. And the aftermath of the little green book to deal with!
My Thoughts: Following the guest post i held for the author i have read the book (admittedly with a delay due to moving and then having no Internet to post my thoughts) and i have asked what my son thought of it. My son is almost 13 and has some dealing of bullies in the past so i thought it would be interesting to see what he thought. Unfortunately he read the overview of the book and decided it was not his thing, i couldn't persuade him to try it even throwing in the idea of the history- of which he has a great interest. This is therefore based on an adult viewpoint and not as i had hoped a teenage one for which the book was written.
I like the concept of the story, the modern and going back in time, i felt it had some gaps. There was no real explanation of the dads disappearance and how he was suddenly so clever- some background may have slotted things together better. I'm not sure that a boy of 14 would really accept as easily that he had gone back in time and just "get on with it" as it were. I felt that the travel was made too easy, and the reader was expected to just assume the boy had understood how to keep quiet and make up a story about his life. Would people in the wild west have been as accepting as they are in the story?
In general if you don't think too much about the history then the story works and as a light hearted book with a deeper message to convey it is a good book.
My rating 3/5

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