Set in 1970 and told from several points-of-view, the novel provides the reader the inner thoughts of the characters as they deal with personal struggles and historic events. Syd Gilmore skillfully tells the story of Billy's struggle to belong. His characters are well established and the novel's plot unfolds smoothly. There are plenty of twists and unexpected adventures to keep the reader engaged. Gilmore nicely captures the social atmosphere of America after the Sixties through the innocence of Billy, the curiosity of Sean and the confusion of their parents - a feat to be commended, a book not to be missed.
This debut YA novel explores the changing relationship between and outer-space-obsessed boy and his moody older brother....Though author Gilmore's debut features a middle-grade "Space Case" as it's protagonist, it explores more mature YA themes, such as drugs and domestic abuse. Adults will also enjoy Billy's nerdy, self-deprecating narration, as when he describes having been strangled by his umbilical cord: "My entire head had been one big bruise....Mom said I was the most colorful baby in the hospital nursery." Gilmore's pop-culture savvy, including mentions of the Beatles' breakup and the imperiled Apollo 13 mission, illuminates for younger audiences the start of one of America's most turbulant decades. Harsh language, as when Butch uses a homophobic slur and when another character uses a racial epithet, emphasizes the nation's long-lasting struggle against social injustice. Gilmore's care is impeccable as he tests every character's fortitude and layers different points of view, building toward an emotionally gratifying finale.
Not just a coming-of-age adventure, but also a lovingly rendered period piece.
"A nostalgic romp that will delight readers of all ages."