Author: Julie Wright
Series: Hazzardous Universe #1
Genres: MG Contemporary Fantasy, MG Science Fiction
Date: March 4, 2011
A guy who works in his grandfather’s magic shop expects weird things to happen. But Hap Hazzard has never had a day like this. First, a freaky old man in a cape who calls himself “Torval” visits the shop and somehow makes a trash can explode. Then Torval delivers an ominous message to Hap’s grandfather, upsetting the old man so badly that he yells at Hap for the first time ever. Next, this girl Tara shows up to apply for a job, and for reasons Hap can’t understand, his cool magic tricks send her away in tears. But that’s nothing compared to what happens next. Under orders to apologize to Tara, Hap searches for the girl. But he can barely say he’s sorry before three spaceships appear, the biggest of the three looking like a burnt slice of pizza.
The weirdness only ramps up as Hap and Tara soon find themselves aboard the pizza-shaped ship piloted by a pair of aliens. Even though they were accidentally abducted, the two humans are now forced to join an out-of-this-world mission that includes razor-toothed multilingual beetles, a psychic queen bee, manic ape frogs, a coveted crystal, and a hundred other bizarre things that just might make sense—if Hap could only remember and understand Torval’s cryptic message. Join Hap and Tara as they begin a fantastic journey into the far reaches of the universe.
This was such a fun middle grade science fiction adventure! It’s kind of a very basic plot — kids abducted by aliens and then trying to do what they can to get back home — but along the way they meet all sorts of interesting creatures and see things they never imagined possible. It’s pretty tame as far as science fiction goes, but that makes it a great introductory book for younger kids. A couple of my kids have read it already and really enjoyed it. I listened to the audio book and just realized the print book has lots of illustrations, so I’m going to have to pull out my copy and check them out!