“The Wrecker,” by David Skinner

“The Wrecker,” by David Skinner is about a strange genius boy who creates wonderful mechanical devices out pieces from a junk pile near his house.
Book Cover Art for The Wrecker by David Skinner
Michael is a new kid at school, slightly scared and shy. He has never been popular and has had few friends. So Michael is a little bit surprised when a strange kid named Theo approaches him in the hallway with a unique proposition:

He said, “I'm Theo. I don't need a friend. I can be your friend if you want. Lots of people seem to need friends. Normal people. I'm not normal. You look kind of normal. I can be your friend. That's okay. You seem cool. You better be. But I don't need a friend, I need an ally, and if you won't be my ally, then you can just go join the rest of them,” he pointed at the the other kids, “and be boring stupid normal all you want. They'll be your friends, okay? But you'll be my ally, right? Yes or no?”

Theo has a very forceful presence and is actually sort of frightening. He is a self proclaimed genius. His brain doesn't work the way other people's does. He doesn't have to learn things, he just knows them. But soon enough Michael learns why Theo wants an ally not a friend. The school bully, named Jeffery Pratt loves to pick on Theo, and when he sees Michael with Theo he starts picking on Michael too.

But then Theo reveals his most important talent to Michael. Theo has a secret junk pile that he visits when he wants to build something. He says that the pieces of junk call to him and he picks certain parts out. Then when he gets home he puts the pieces together in the way that they want to go and a strange device emerges. One time it was a mechanical spider that ties shoes, another time a flying bird that makes water out of air, or a complicated box that dances on puffs of air. Ordinary junk becomes extraordinary devices in Theo's hands.

But then Theo reveals his ultimate plan. He wants to make a device that will do something entirely different:

“Pratt. I want him wrecked.... I don't want him hurt. He should be hurt, a lot, and all the time, but that's not enough. And I don't want him dead, either. I do want him dead but that's not enough. And getting him expelled is stupid. I want every part of him destroyed.”

Theo and Michael set out on a plan to build the ultimate device, a device that they call “The Wrecker.” This device is specifically designed to destroy the bully Jeffery Pratt. But when they have found a way to build the device they begin to be struck by the full enormity of what they have created. Can they really use it on Jeffery, and should they?

David Skinner's novel “The Wrecker” is very interesting. The character Theo is the perfect picture of a slightly unstable genius uncertain about the best way to use his powers. David Skinner's amazing ending is rather ingenious. I would recommend “The Wrecker” as a fascinating science fiction novel.

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Inkweaver Review 2009-06-02T10:08:00-05:00

1 replies so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I am reading this book with my class! It's very interesting, we're almost to the end...