Liam Digby is an average twelve year old, with just two exceptions: he is exceptionally good at mathematics and exceptionally tall for his age. So tall, indeed, that many people assume he is an adult. Although he is just a kid who loves video games, Liam discovers that he can have a lot of fun pretending to be older than he really is. The principal at his new school assumes he is a new faculty member, and Liam manages to derail the opening day assembly. He nearly succeeds in test driving a Porsche, but his father tracks him down using Liam’s cell phone number. Liam’s most exciting adventure, however, involves posing as the father of a classmate (Florida) and winning a trip to China to accompany the first children ever to travel in space. Formerly frustrated with his parents’ protectiveness, Liam quickly notices that the adults involved in this space experiment have no common sense, and he emerges as the only responsible “adult” on the trip. He saves the lives of four fellow twelve year olds and in the process learns to appreciate his father’s love.
Liam matures beyond his twelve years during this outer space escapade. He regrets having deceived so many people about his real age and recognizes his own guilt. Liam meets several other parents on his trip to China. He realizes that while some parents spoil their children, others push them too hard and some simply ignore them, his own father loves him unconditionally. Unfortunately, Boyce includes one unnecessary scene that detracts from the value of his book. In the course of posing as an adult, Liam unwittingly becomes drunk and develops a hangover. Florida (his “daughter”) makes light of the situation as though this were normal adult behavior. The author could easily have omitted this chapter without changing the plot. Parents may also object to the amount of time Liam spends playing video games.
Jennifer Minicus is a former teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.