Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
|Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: A boy crash lands to earth with no memory of who he is or why he is here. Can his new friends help him to regain his memory before it is too late?|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: December 2016|
|Publisher: Random House Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Meet D.J. He's the odd one out in a family of talented prodigies. Whilst his siblings excel at music, arts, science and sport, D.J. isn't particularly good at anything. When D.J. discovers a boy who seems to have crash-landed to earth, things start to change. Suddenly, this very ordinary boy has the potential to be a real hero; especially when he discovers that his new friend is not the only thing that fell to earth that day...
Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth is a fast-paced comic book adventure filled with action and excitement on every page. On the surface, the story appears lightweight; a boy crashes to earth and has to fight robots who want to destroy the planet. Scrape beneath the surface, however and there is a lot more to the narrative than meets the eye. For example, D.J. is a very ordinary boy who thinks that he is useless at everything and a lot of young readers will be able to relate to him as a sort of 'everyman' character. His friendship with Hilo and Gina is touching and profound; when he starts to see himself through their eyes, he realises that he is anything but ordinary to them. The theme of friendship runs throughout the book and gives a strong and compelling message to young readers.
There are plenty of old, familiar tropes thrown into the storyline and older readers may find themselves trying to work out just how many movies, books and stories have 'inspired' the author along the way, but this is an endearing rather than alienating quality of the book. The characters are likeable, with clearly defined personalities and come from diverse backgrounds.
Visually, the book is an absolute delight. The colours are bold and bright and the characters are able to communicate a wide range of emotions as the story progresses. One feature I found particularly interesting was the way the author drew the eyes of the characters. In most scenes, the eyeballs are white and blank, although still managing to convey expression perfectly. However, in the more intense scenes in the book, the eyes of the characters are drawn in a more detailed way and the visual effect is powerful. I also liked the scenes where there was no dialogue; just a sequence of 'silent' images depicting the passage of time. Again, the style of these images has a powerful effect.
The book is the first in a series and ends on a huge cliffhanger that will leave readers desperate for more. I'm afraid that it's too late for me. The author has worked his magic on me and I'm hooked. Completely hooked.
If you like this book, you will probably enjoy the excellent Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown, a very funny comic-book story set in a middle school far, far away.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick at Amazon.com.
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