A quirky middle–grade novel about an enterprising seventh–grader who discovers an astonishing plea for help in the grooves of his blue jeans.
Dwayne Ruggles is a regular kid living in a regular town until evil entrepreneur Howard Thigpen shows up. Thigpen seems to have the ability to make people do whatever he wants, and sparks of light swirl around him wherever he goes. But the mystery doesn't stop there. Dwayne discovers that the grooves in his Thigpen–brand blue jeans and the ripples in his Thigpen–brand potato chips contain a secret message, "Please. You must help us. He's stealing the light from our eyes." It's a race against time to solve the mystery, but first Dwayne better figure out what that strange message means.
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Kevin Brockmeier is the author of city of names and several novels for adults, including the brief history of the dead. He has published stories in The Georgia Review, The New Yorker, and McSweeney's. He is also the recipient of many prestigious honors, including a James Michener–Paul Engle Fellowship, the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award, and three O. Henry Awards. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-7–A surrealistic and nutty mystery set in an average community in Suburbia, USA. Dwayne Ruggles is a short, round seventh-grader who discovers that by rubbing an old-fashioned phonograph needle attached to a Victrola horn (dont ask) in the grooves of his jeans, he can hear a secret message. Then he rubs it in the ripples of potato chips and hears another message. It sounds as though someone is begging for help–but who could it be? And where are they? When his friend Kevin joins him, they soon learn that both the jeans and chips came from the nearby factories owned by Howard Thigpen, a megalomaniacal multimillionaire. Dwayne, Kevin, and fellow student Emily Holmes decide that Thigpen must be holding hostages in his heavily secured factory complex, and that its up to them to rescue the captives. Kids will laugh their way through the ridiculous situations the three find themselves in. With its crazy deadpan humor, the novel is a hoot, and one of the best candidates for booktalking to come along in a long while.–Walter Minkel, New York Public Library
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