Review: Car-Jacked

cover-car-jackedTitle: Car-Jacked
Author: Ali Sparkes
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Length: Novel
Available: Now

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Jack Mattingly is a genius.
He has an IQ of 170.
He speaks fluent Mandarin and Latin.
And he can calculate the square root of 1,673,549 in his head. 

But when Jack’s parents’ car is hi-jacked, with him inside it, for once he’s as clueless as the rest of us. The car-jacker doesn’t know Jack’s in the car – yet. But it’s only a matter of time before he’s discovered. And then anything could happen. Only one thing’s for sure: Jack’s in for the thrill-ride of his life . . . 

A high-octane adventure from the winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award.


Source: Review copy from Oxford University Press via Amazon Vine

The idea of this book is so exciting that I have to admit I found the beginning a little dull. Jack’s a bit of a brat at first and his mother is completely over the top. Then comes the carjacking, which… well, didn’t go quite as I expected. For a moment I was worried this was going to be a book where everyone was deep-down really nice and even the bad things were done with the best intentions.

Luckily, I was wrong. While it’s true that most of the characters in the book are more than they first appear, there are plenty of bad sides to go along with the good. Jack especially is so much more than his genius status and I really enjoyed how his adventure unfolded. In fact I really liked him. He is very brainy, but I loved how he also learnt how to be a bit more practical along the way and got to see another side of life.

The only character who doesn’t really have much depth is Jack’s mother. She’s ridiculously very pushy and doesn’t have a lot of redeeming features. I did like Jack’s dad, though, even if he too was a stereotypical quiet man just trying to keep the peace.

As for the plot, what might start out a bit slow and seemingly worthy, soon switches into something quite different. Adventurous and exciting, with plenty of smart moments and a few less intelligent ones, this book is a great ride right up to the finish. Yes, all right, there are times when the fun turns a bit over the top and you do have to suspend your disbelief occasionally, but overall this is fast and fun, with a clever kid who’s a bit of a misfit finding out that there is more to him than his brain.

If you like an adventurous read where unexpected heroes try to save the day – in some less than obvious ways – then you should give this a try. Or if you just want to see the brainy kid having an adventure without changing into someone else, then Jack will definitely give you that.


Car-Jacked is Out Now!
Visit Ali Sparkes for more details.

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