Owen is fat. Really fat. He's 57% fatter than most 12-year-old boys. And he's a middle schooler. Ugh. He wasn't always that way. Food for Owen Birnbaum fills the ache in his stomach that comes when he thinks of his past. Hints are slowly revealed as to what the tragedy is that happened to Owen and his sister, Caitlin or Jeremy. Caitlin is dealing with the past by joining the club GWAB, Girls Who are Boys, where she cuts her hair, wears boys clothes and changes her girl name to the boy name, Jeremy. Owen builds a contraption called the Nemesis, a device that will go back in time and capture a specific moment. Owen thinks it will make things "right" for both of them and put to rest their awful past.
Owen is picked on at school mercilessly by other students and his bully gym teacher, Mr. Wooly. When Owen's oreo cookies are stolen from his lunch every day, he sets out to find the thief. He thinks it is Mason Riggs, an outcast like Owen, who has horrible burns on half his face and is rumored to carry a knife in his sock. Owen comes up with a plan to catch Riggs in the act, but things don't turn out as he planned. While the story is realistic the ending reveals the mystery of the missing cookies with an unexpected twist.
The writing has nice character development and a slow revelation of the tragedy. Nima, the man from Tibet, is a refreshing and unique character. I wasn't sure why the author had him be a smoker. I would like to ask her that question. Maybe so he didn't seem so perfect and wise? He is only 21 years old in the book. Some might think the start is a little slow but I liked the character development. The plot takes off pretty quickly and the tragedy is revealed about two-thirds of the way through the book.
A teacher at our school said that this book is a great read aloud.
Reading Level: 5.0
:-) :-) :) :-) 4 out of 5 Smileys