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Reviewed by:
  • The Project
  • April Spisak
Falkner, Brian. The Project. Random House, 2011. [304p]. Library ed. ISBN 978-0-375-96945-4 $20.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-375-86945-7 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-375-98350-4 $17.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 6–9.

In this Australian import, two boys go from grouching about lame school-assigned reading to running for their lives after they stumble upon the most boring book in the world only to find it harbors incredible secrets. The book in question has been long sought after, not only because it is assumed to be one of a kind, but also because buried within are instructions on building a bomb, which, when transported back in time by Nazi loyalists, could change Hitler’s (and the world’s) path in an instant. It is a ridiculous, delirious plot that actually works quite well as Tommy and Luke snark about books, outrun the Nazis, travel through time, and save the world. Unfortunately, the madcap adventuring quickly overshadows the boys’ warm friendship and Luke’s struggle to adjust to Iowa City from New Zealand, and this shifted focus makes the book as a whole feel unmoored. In addition, there are a few too many convenient grownups changing their minds at the last minute, without which change the boys would not have succeeded, and this certainly undercuts the “kids saving the world” vibe. Nevertheless, the notion that the most boring book in the world could still contain untold treasures (or horrors) is an amusing one, and Falkner glibly takes the plot beyond absurd with exactly the confidence necessary to leave readers content with the journey.



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