A tale of muddled-up proportions and growing up

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 12:00am


By Frank Cottrell Boyce

Published by Macmillan

ISBN 978 1 4050 5464 5

Liam is a cool 12-year-old with a big problem. His hormones have been working overtime, making him grow very tall very quickly and giving him a beard and moustache.

He starts shaving, he's outgrown his school uniform and football kit and people keep mistaking him for an adult.

Looking like a grown-up has its advantages. Liam can go on rides at theme parks that his friends can't enjoy because of height restrictions, and he can get into places where kids can't usually go alone.

Long-legged Liam takes everything in his rather large stride, and if people think he's an adult, he's not going to correct them. He may look like a grown-up, but he's still a child inside.

Appearances can be deceptive and lead to some amusing situations. On Liam's first day at his new secondary school, the head teacher mistakes him for a new member of staff and drags him onto the stage to introduce him. And one day he walks into a Porsche showroom and the overeager salesman lets him drive a sports car out onto the forecourt.

Liam deals with the ups-and-downs of being an old-looking pre-teen with remarkable presence of mind. He knows who he is, and that he can do nothing about his appearance. But suddenly Liam is given the opportunity to use his super-size looks to his advantage.

Much to his amazement, young Liam wins a trip to Infinity Park, a brand new theme park about to open in China. Liam is one of a small group of teens who has been chosen to test out the rides before the park is open to the public.

But there is a slight problem. Each young competition winner has to be accompanied by his or her father, and Liam knows his dad will refuse to let him go to China.

But Liam has the brilliant idea of pretending to be the 'father' himself and enlisting the help of a friend to be the 'child' in the competition-winning duo.

Lying to his parents that he is on a school trip, Liam and his 'son' set off for China to inspect Infinity Park. The park has a space theme, and the main ride is a rocket that will actually take the winning teens into space.

The kids will be escorted by one of the fathers, and Liam is determined to be the 'adult' chosen. Now he has to behave like a real 'dad' so he doesn't give the game away.

Cosmic is a sharp and hugely funny adventure peppered with witty observations about adulthood as viewed from a young person's perspective.

John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com