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Paperback London Calling Book

ISBN: 0375843639

ISBN13: 9780375843631

London Calling

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Book Overview

Martin Conway comes from a family filled with heroes and disgraces. His grandfather was a statesman who worked at the US Embassy in London during WWII. His father is an alcoholic who left his family. His sister is an overachieving Ivy League graduate. And Martin? Martin is stuck in between--floundering. But during the summer after 7th grade, Martin meets a boy who will change his life forever. Jimmy Harker appears one night with a deceptively simple...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Part time travel, part ghost story, part problem novel

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. --- Reviewed by Paula Jolin

A satisfying blend of time travel, ghosts, and mystery

Edward Bloor's LONDON CALLING comes from the best-selling author of TANGERINE and provides a satisfying blend of time travel, ghosts, and mystery. Martin's meeting with a young British boy who magically appears in his bedroom will lead him to London on the adventure of his life - which may or may not be the product of a dream.

Fantastic.

I really couldn't put this book down. Granted, it's a bit predictable, but the path that Bloor takes his reader on is interesting, thrilling, and emotional. I can't wait to use it in my classroom. It's not the typical historical fiction piece that some of my students usually shun. This book has something for everyone.

Courtesy of Teens Read Too

LONDON CALLING opens with a fight at school between the rich boys and the scholarship boys. A stone hits one of the statues in the new walkway causing damage. The commotion from the fight catches the attention of the headmaster who decides that he will determine the punishment at the end of the summer vacation. Martin dreads going back for this meeting. He hates the school so much that he requests to have independent studies for the entire new school year. His grandmother dies, leaving him this old radio from the 1940's. One night, Martin falls asleep listening to the sounds on the radio and is transported back to the 1940's in London during World War II. There he meets Jimmy, a young boy, who asks for his help. England during the wartime scares Martin and he can't tell if he's dreaming or if he's really traveled through time. He begins writing down names of people he meets and events that he hears mentioned to research later. Digging deeper into the past, he begins to unravel historical differences between today's understanding of history and the actual events. Martin realizes how history changes--with the victor's side writing the accounts of the events. The deeper he digs, the more truths he uncovers, and the more the radio calls him to help Jimmy. This fascinating book takes a look at how historical moments and figures are shaped by the outcome of an event. While this books starts off slowly, it quickly picks up, drawing the reader deeper into Martin's time-travel adventures. LONDON CALLING will be a thought-provoking book for classroom discussions. Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel

Impressive and Wrenching

"London Calling" is one of the most emotionally wrenching YA books I've had the pleasure to read in the past year. The character of Martin (JMartinC is his IM username) is as real as any kid I've run into recently. Yes, there is time-travel of a sort. Martin is somehow transported to the past through the agency of an ancient Philco Radio, and Jimmy, his raggedy companion in World War II London, is a masterful, albeit tragic, character. Martin, of course, would rather this whole thing be a dream, because the alternative seems to be insanity. But when his "dreams" start giving him historically accurate answers about things he's never heard of, then all bets are off. "What did YOU do to help?" -- The question that reverberates through this marvelous is answered for Jimmy and Martin. Could it be answered for the reader? Sorry for what seems like an excess of superlatives, but this is a superlative book.
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