MG/YA Review & Giveaway! Itch by Simon Mayo

Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter by Simon Mayo

Age Range: 12 and up

Grade Level: 6 and up

Hardcover: 432 pages

Publisher: Splinter (April 2, 2013)

Series: Itch #1

Genre: Adventure

Source: Publisher for review

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Thrills. Danger. And world domination. Itch is as action-packed and suspenseful as a novel for young readers can get!

Itchingham Lofte, nicknamed Itch, has an unusual passion: collecting
specimens of every element in the periodic table. So what if that means
he’s had a few … mishaps? But when he gets his hands on a suspiciously
warm rock made of a new, previously unknown element, things really
begin to explode. Soon, a malevolent teacher, an evil-doing corporation,
and a top-secret government agency are all after Itch. Can his science
know-how keep him one step ahead of everyone…and help him stay alive?

Cover and jacket flap feature augmented reality animations via a free downloadable Itch app!  

About the Author:

SIMON MAYO is one of Britain’s best-loved and well-known radio DJs. He works for BBC radio, and in 2008 he was recognized as the Radio Broadcaster of the Year at the 34th annual Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and the Speech Broadcaster of the Year at the Sony Radio Academy Awards. ITCH is his first middle-grade novel, and he’s working on a sequel, scheduled for 2014. Simon lives in England.



“Chock-full of science, a strong young hero, and a plot that’s a roller coaster of
danger, Itch is a definite must-read for geeks everywhere.”

“You’d have to
work quite hard not to like Itchingham Lofte. . . amid the teenage
intrigue and heart-in-mouth escapades there are sequin flashes of real
science. . . the story [moves along] in a high-speed Hitchcockian
manner…”The Guardian

“A great debut. You’ll be itching to read more!”

Anthony Horowitz, New York Times bestselling author of the Alex Rider

Book Trailer:

Visit the ITCH WEBSITE for the Discussion Guide and Author Q&A 

My Thoughts:

This book is so different from anything else in the middle grade and young
adult categories right now. It’s really refreshing to read a book that
is pure adventure. No magic, no aliens, no dystopian world. It is set in
current day England and it is about a fourteen year old boy that
collects elements from the periodic table.

It is such an original idea. Nobody has done this before, and I love the author for coming up with something unique. *Hugs to the author!*

Itch is an interesting character. On the one hand, he is the brilliant
kid that gets bullied at school, on the other hand, he is brave and
adventurous. He is not a perfect character. He gets scared after
poisoning his entire class with arsenic and doesn’t fess up. He
constantly puts others in danger by keeping (and using) his element
collection in public places and around other people. Not to mention that
he involves his teacher, cousin, and little sister in his elemental mess. In
spite of his many flaws, I really like Itch. He comes across as a
believable fourteen year old boy with a weird hobby.

The adventure part of the book is well thought out, carefully planned,
and well executed. Flowerdew is fantastic. What an awesome lunatic. He
is unpredictable and rash. While the book is rather unbelievable (what
are the odds of a new element that will start a battle for world domination being discovered?), it comes
across as being a situation you could actually see happening.

The ending is perfect. I love it when an author finds a way to break the
mold of adventure novels and deliver something new. I am really looking
forward to the next book in the series. Some of the suspense gets lost
during the slower parts, but overall, this is a great book for middle
grade and young adult readers. It will appeal most strongly to boys, but
the girls will enjoy it as well.

Giveaway Details:

1 Hardcover of Itch

Open to the US only

Must be 13 or older to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Reply
    September 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Ohhh, Dena, this sounds delicious. Thanks so much for a great review and giveaway and for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog HOp

  • Reply
    Dorothy Teel
    September 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    I think this book looks like a great read for me and my granddaughter who is fascinated by science. thank you for sharing..

  • Reply
    Renee C.
    September 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    This does sound like a completely original idea for a book. I'm trying to think of how it would even be possible to collect specimens from each element. Is that even possible? lol Still, love the premise – it is very intriguing. I'm in Canada so I can't enter the giveaway, but I'll tweet about it. Thanks for linking in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. 🙂

    • Reply
      September 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      He "knows a guy" that gets him some things, but lots of it comes in the form of something else, like batteries and earrings.

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