BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: The Starman and Me
Author: Sharon Cohen
Publication Date: August 2017
Most Suitable For: Years 5-6+
Original and quirky, this book offers a gripping adventure that weaves together themes of friendship, bullying, science and the ethics of using new technologies. It reminded me of a cross between ET and Stig of the Dump, with a greater measure of real life issues (like family relationships and bullying) and a sparky narrative containing an appealing balance of humour and action.
12-year-old Kofi discovers something unusual sitting on a supermarket roundabout. The ‘thing’ turns out to be Rorty Thrutch, who may look like an alien but is actually a tiny prehistoric human capable of doing astonishing things like copying, pasting and deleting objects just by using the power of his mind. Rorty is lost, confused and vulnerable after being kidnapped from his remote island home by a scientist and the only thing he seems to want is to find his beloved friend, Pogsy Blue, who is also missing.
Kofi befriends Rorty and tries to keep on top of his new friend’s unusual antics while he works on unravelling the mystery of what really happened to Rorty and Pogsy. The narrative provides plenty of humour and tension as Kofi attempts to keep Rorty out of trouble and safe from those hunting him.
I enjoyed how the story progresses at a good pace and offers the reader plenty to think about along the way, including the complex ethics of technological advancement. The author’s scientific background comes through strongly as the book also explores interesting topics like the wonders of DNA and the implications of advances in neuroscience.
Beneath the sci-fi plot line there is also a deeper layer to the story, which tackles – in an age-appropriate way- some heavy issues like bullying and the effects of domestic abuse. The characters are well developed with plenty of space given to explore backgrounds and motivations without falling into stereotypes.
The Starman and Me, which has already been shortlisted for a number of awards, is a wonderful and thought-provoking adventure story that will sweep readers along with its original plot line and quirky style. If you are looking for something unique to spark curiosity and capture imaginations in the 9-12 age category, this is certainly one to recommend.
Check out our special guest blog post by author Sharon Cohen, discussing her personal writing journey.
Many thanks to the author for kindly sending me a review copy of this book.