“THE LAST MARTIN,” by Jonathan Friesen, Zonderkidz, March 29, 2011, $14.99 (ages 9-12)
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
— “Romeo and Juliet” (Act 2, Scene 2), by William Shakespeare
For Martin Boyle, his name means everything. You see there’s always a Martin and only one Martin in his family. It’s a tradition dating back generations. That means, as Martin just found out, when another Martin comes along, the current Martin’s time is up.
It’s not as if Martin doesn’t have other things to worry about.
There are germs and dangers everywhere, according to his mom, and that means taking precautions — staying home from school with a sneeze, carrying a personal airbag on the bus and having an emergency kit at the ready at all times.
Martin’s dad is the opposite of his mom. Having completed his tour of duty, he’s always off somewhere re-enacting war battles.
School isn’t so hot either. It seems Martin’s gym teacher is out to get him, and Julia, the girl Martin has a crush on, won’t even give him the time of day. To make matters worse, Martin’s friend has been passing of Martin’s fictional story as his own, and Julia loves it.
Martin’s aunt is about to give birth to a baby boy, a baby they intend to name Martin. If Martin’s going to survive, he’s has to break the curse, and he’s going to have to do it fast.
There’s something appealing about the “The Last Martin.” It’s different than other books for middle readers without being silly or borrowing from other authors. Author Jonathan Friesen tells Martin’s story with a slightly sardonic style that will likely appeal to young readers, especially boys.
Martin is a likable, relatable character that makes you want to cheer him along. And his story is not so different from that of other kids, except for the whole curse thing that is.
“The Last Martin” is fun, imaginative and well-paced, making it a good choice for even the most reluctant reader.
Jonathan Friesen is holding a writing contest in conjunction with the release of “The Last Martin.” Enter by visiting Jonathan’s website now through June 1.
***The Grand Prize Winner will receive a signed copy of The Last Martin and a lunch with Jonathan Friesen. In addition, ten copies of The Last Martin will be given to the Grand Prize Winner’s school and Jonathan Friesen will visit the school. In addition, your winning submission will be published on jonathanfriesen.com.
***Runner up will receive a signed copy of The Last Martin and a phone call from Jonathan Friesen. In addition, his or her school will receive ten copies of the book. In addition, your winning submission will be published on jonathanfriesen.com.
***Third Place will receive a signed copy of The Last Martin and winning submission will be published on JonathanFriesen.com
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