Wednesday, October 22, 2014
MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: Chum by Adam Glendon Sidwell
ABOUT THE BOOK
Thirteen-year-old Levi Middleworth insists he's got a Destiny, even if half the internet's tried to bully it out of him with a viral video. When a Hollywood executive in a trim green suit invites Levi to star on a reality TV show aboard a hi-tech pirate ship, Levi thinks his Destiny's finally come a knockin' a bit of fame is exactly what he needs to finally make some friends his eighth grade year. But almost as soon as they set sail, the games aboard the ship turn savage, and he and his new bud Holly must do everything they can to find themselves some Chums little round-headed autonomous toys since failing to do so means getting thrown to the sharks. With the help of Levi's long-lost television hero and a tech-savvy pirate crew, Levi has to rethink his quest for fame in an attempt to save himself, his fellow contestants, and every human being on the beach from a feeding frenzy of grisly proportions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from Goodreads)
In between books, Adam Glendon Sidwell uses the power of computers to make monsters, robots and zombies come to life for blockbuster movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong, Transformers and Tron. After spending countless hours in front of a keyboard meticulously adjusting tentacles, calibrating hydraulics, and brushing monkey fur, he is delighted at the prospect of modifying his creations with the flick of a few deftly placed adjectives. He's been eating food since age 7, so feels very qualified to write this book. He once showed a famous movie star where the bathroom was. Adam currently lives in Los Angeles, where he can't wait to fall into the sea.
Chum is a rather wacky adventure story involving a reality show, a ship, pirates, and sharks. Levi ends up on board the Philanthropist, a ship that houses the reality show that he believes he is a part of. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that there is more going on that what he originally believed and fame soon becomes the last thing on his mind. I found this to be an entertaining story, I also found it difficult to accept that Levi and the other contestants would leap into something like this with so little effort to check it out. I guess it's not surprising that a thirteen-year-old would do this, but the adults!? And I guess it's not too much of a leap that Levi would accept the word of the director even though it's evident early on that the guy is not on the up and up. But if you are willing to suspend belief for a while its a light fun read. And middle graders tend to be more willing to let certain things go in pursuit of an interesting story and that definitely exists here. I mean the combination of a contest, TV cameras, pirates, and sharks is mighty appealing. And Levi is a sympathetic character as he tries to redeem himself from an embarrassing video that was posted on the internet. Despite a few editorial errors the writing works and I think young readers will enjoy this book.