Wednesday 2 May 2012

123. Itch by Simon Mayo

Itch by Simon Mayo
Published May 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
Meet Itch - an accidental, accident-prone hero. Science is his weapon. Elements are his gadgets. This is Alex Rider with Geek-Power! Itchingham Lofte - known as Itch - is fourteen, and loves science - especially chemistry. He's also an element-hunter: he's decided to collect all the elements in the periodic table. Which has some interesting and rather destructive results in his bedroom . . . Then, Itch makes a discovery. A new element, never seen before. At first no one believes him - but soon, someone hears about the strange new rock and wants it for himself. And Itch is in serious danger . . .

This is an action adventure in the vein of Alex Rider and Young Bond...but what makes Itchingham Lofte different from those two characters is that Itch is not a spy, he has no gadgets, he is just a 14 year old boy who is mad about science.

His one goal is to collect all of the elements from the periodic table, all 118 of them.  Among his collection he has radium (glow in the dark alarm clock hands), silicon (computer chip), neon (long thin light bulb) and arsenic (nineteenth century wallpaper, arsenic was used as a dye).  The trouble starts when Itch takes this wallpaper to school, to keep it safe, only to take it into the steamy greenhouse where the reaction between the steam and the arsenic causes toxic gas to be released which causes the entire class to vomit, and some to be hospitalised.  This already sounds like the beginning of an interesting actioned packed story...but it hasn't even started.

When itch buys a rock from his supplier, he thinks he is getting uranium ore, not uncommon in Cornwall.  What he finds is an element like no other, it is a new element, and it is radioactive.  Exposure to this rock can kill, and people will also kill to get it.  This material will revolutionise the energy industry. This is where the action starts.  Itch has to figure out who to trust all the while keeping his exposure to a minimum.  Suffering from radiation sickness Itch and his cousin Jacqueline (Jack) are on the run from the bad guys and Itch needs to find a safe place to get rid of this dangerous rock.

An action packed read, by a brand new author.

Who will like this book: Boys age 11+
Read it if you like: Alex Rider

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