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That Time I Got Kidnapped5/5

That Time I Got Kidnapped

Tom Mitchell

Review

An absolutely hilarious, fast-paced story from Tom Mitchell about 14-year-old Jacob who has won a once in a lifetime opportunity to appear in a Marvel movie! He missed his flight in Chicago and ends up on a rip roaring adventure when he meets a girl called Jennifer who is on the run from a mysterious man called 'the Cowboy' who has been sent to bring her home by her grandmother.

This story is full of capers and disasters as they make their way across the states. It's a great mixture of witty dialogue and slightly slapstick comedy, yet never strays from being believable and realistic.

This a real page turner and every moment is utterly enjoyable! Jacob is easy to identity with and has a wonderful dry sense of humour at times.This book is sure to be a hit with that difficult to please teen boy market!

This would be an ideal class read from Y6 onwards as it has plenty of action and comedy to keep everyone entertained.

320 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Jess Locke, school librarian

Reviewed by: Jess Locke


That Time I Got Kidnapped3/5

That Time I Got Kidnapped

Tom Mitchell

Review

A funny page-turner following the misadventures of British 14-year-old Jacob, who flies solo to America after winning a dream opportunity to appear in a Hollywood superhero movie. After he misses his connecting flight and resorts to getting a bus to LA, he ends up on a high-stakes adventure with Jennifer, a mysterious girl on the run from sinister figure, 'The Cowboy', who will stop at nothing to find her.

After enjoying Tom Mitchell's first book, How to Rob a Bank, I was excited to read this book. The plot has a great pace, with twists and disasters that are sure to keep students reading. Much like his first book, it's nice to see a classic cinema archetype translated for a young audience. Whilst the adventure gets crazier by the second, it never seems unrealistic.

The writing style has a wonderful and unmistakeable British dry humour, which is lovely to see in a genre often saturated by American authors - despite this difference, I still think it would have an appeal to those who enjoy James Patterson's Middle School series due to its slapstick and caper-like qualities. The book might also be suitable for fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series - although it does not have the same fantasy elements, the road-trip narrative definitely had that same adventurous charm.

I would recommend this as a Year 7 class read, as reluctant readers may not engage with this if reading independently. I found the writing style is not particularly accessible or relatable. At times it seemed the author was unable to find the true voice of a 14-year-old and the author's own turn of phrase would leak through, which ended up being quite jarring and definitely affected the authenticity of the character. I found that jokes that landed with me (an adult reader) would not necessarily translate as well for children - Jacob often seemed more like a younger child mimicking a parent's language rather than a teen with his own voice. (The author also completely underestimated the knowledge teens have - they absolutely know what jelly and Jell-O are! The internet exists!)

Unfortunately this did prevent me from fully connecting with the character and the story, and I worry that some young readers will feel the same - however if read aloud by an adult I think children would be able to see the humour in this. Though I don't necessarily think it was deliberate, Jacob's mannerisms and quirks resonated with my experiences with autism, therefore children with autism might be able to relate to the character!

Overall I struggled to get past the writing style but the plot and story development definitely makes it worth reading!

296 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Patricia Snake, school librarian

Reviewed by: Patricia Snake