This is SUCH a fun, intensely creative contemporary sci-fi with family drama, comedy, silly banter between characters and a dynamic storytelling approach it’s very hard to talk about this book without giving away spoilers!!
Jennifer Killick has really created an edge of your seat mystery where you are never quite sure if the events are just childish games and imagination or the actual horrible truth.
Mo has never met his dad, the wunderkind scientist disappeared up the shops before Mo’s mum even knew she was pregnant. But he still feels weird when his mum moves them in with her boyfriend and his daughters in the bigger fancier house across the road from his childhood home.
Lottie is tough yet makes friends without trying so suddenly family with reclusive logical hoarder Mo seems an impossible task.
But throw in the weird people who’ve moved into Mo’s old house, the strange boy at school, a kamikaze Lollypop Man and strange notes about looking out for the Junkers and missing people across time, there may be hope for the blended family after all.
If you are watching this MESSAGE, then it means something has happened to us and the future of the world is on your hands.
Did you ever watch the Doctor Who spin off Torchwood? One season 2 episode concerned missing children abducted in mysterious ways and the ethical dilemma of whether it’s better to know the truth or not. The concept of the Junkers reminds me a lot of that, does Mo really want to find out what happened to his dad.
Without spoilers, throughout there is the question of time-travel and a hint of Terminator which makes this such an exciting narrative of whether this is all real or just hyper-imagined!
*Lottie who has been fidgeting for the past few minutes starts to jiggle urgently on her chair*
Lottie: Mo I need a wee
Mo: Go then. what do you want my permission?>
Lottie: I want you to come with me.
Lottie: And wait outside the door I mean!
The writing style is what makes this such a fun and playful read. The premise is that we are reading the transcript of a vlog left in the case of Mo and Lottie going missing and not being found with Mo and Lottie taking it in turns to recount the events from the day they moved in as a blended family interspersed with pieces of evidence such as notes, records and such.
Which suggests there is a narrative beyond this book, whether this is a ‘found footage’ aka Blair Witch or a ‘ preserved archive’ like Handmaids Tale is unclear, one might hope it’s a parent or their little sister watching in a year or so .
There are many things neatly tied up but equally left hanging meaning there is rich fodder for follow up books which I would LOVE to see.
I cursed the day these Impossible girls had come into my life. they spoke in ways I didn’t understand. They did random things for no apparent reason. They made me feel stupid and stressed. Everything as hard and uncomfortable when they were around.
I adored the way the mystery brings Lottie and Mo together as a family and they discover a genuine affection and understanding for each others quirks and edges as the narrative progresses.
The little blossoms of friendship between a classic chalk and cheese combo with some witty repartee and some childish banter creates familial bonds which is beautiful to witness and a real strength of the book in regards to a realistic start but positive portrayal of a blended family.
Overall this is a fantastic cracking little novel full of laughs and shocks that will leave the reader giggling and checking their own community for tell tale signs of Junkers as the plot progresses too!!
Highly recommended for 8+ who love a bit of science fiction and fun.
Mo, Lottie and the Junkers by Jennifer Killick and Illustrated by Gareth Conway is published by Firefly Publishing.