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London Calling

Review

London Calling

Martin Conway can't stand the snobbery at All Souls Preparatory
School, not to mention the uniforms and the tradition. He'd love to
just get away from it all and disappear into the anonymity of
public school. But he can't, because his mother works as a
secretary at the school so that Martin can have the chance one day
to join the diplomatic corps to which his grandfather
belonged.


Martin doesn't want a better life in the future; he just wants a
better one right now, away from the nasty but popular Hank Lowery
and his friends --- tormentors of the weak and helpless. They
attack Martin and his friends after the latter question the war
hero status of Hank's grandfather. Although Hank and company strike
the first blow, somehow it's Martin's friend who gets expelled (for
fighting back in defense). But that's the way it works at All
Souls: money and power win every time.


In addition to the dismal atmosphere at school, Martin has plenty
going on at home: his mother won't listen to him, his father, an
admitted alcoholic, doesn't even live with them anymore, and his
beloved grandmother has just died. Worst of all, perhaps, are the
dreams he's been having: dreams that place him back in World War II
and that leave him with intimate knowledge of things that happened
60 years ago --- things he couldn't possibly be aware of unless he
was actually there. During these bizarre happenings, he meets a
young boy named Jimmy Harker who asks him a seemingly simple
question: Will you help?


Edward Bloor is an author who can always be counted on for writing
something different --- and LONDON CALLING is certainly that. Part
time travel, part ghost story, part problem novel, LONDON CALLING
does a great job of linking these different elements into one
coherent and compelling whole. As with his previous books, Bloor's
strength is with his characters: Martin, of course, who comes
across as determined and curious even in the face of extraordinary
experiences, but also his intriguing sister Margaret and
straightforward best friend Pinak. Martin's unfolding relationship
with his father also drives the book, as he learns to see his
father as a much more complex person than he originally
thought.


Readers who enjoy historical fiction with a twist will be intrigued
by LONDON CALLING --- as will anyone who likes books that challenge
the status quo, especially through unexpected and unusual elements.
This is an effective and compelling novel that will make readers
think not only about the way we view our past but also about the
way we understand our present.


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Reviewed by Paula Jolin on October 18, 2011

London Calling
by Edward Bloor

  • Publication Date: September 26, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0375836357
  • ISBN-13: 9780375836350