Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book Review: 'Jodie and the Library Card' by Julie Hodgson

Swedish author Julie Hodgson has experienced more than most authors in travel, jobs, and fascination with her elected career of writing for children. She wrote for the children's page of the Kuwaiti times just before the first Gulf conflict in 1989, she worked with school children in North Africa and Tripoli, and when not stationed in one place she travels extensively encouraging people to read. She has published six works to date, this being her first installment in the JODIE BROOM SERIES.

Julie brings us a story that takes place in the future, sixty years fast forward when the world is a different place with different values – values that lack much of the warmth and experience we enjoy during this present time. Not that we have not considered the ‘future world’ of a digital age – simply look around at what occupies children’s fancies at present and see a preponderance of mechanical toys that offer digital games and social interaction that is less than real. Not only is Jodie’s story an exciting one, it is also a science fiction/time travel experience that will attract youngsters (and adults who enjoy the fantasies of being young) and perhaps retard the passing of the printed word.

Julie’s synopsis of her tale is excellent and difficult to improve upon: ‘Jodie Broom, a 12-year-old girl (almost 13!), is like most girls her age. She loves her friends, music, and is always up for a good adventure. What she treasures above all else are books and she is consumed by them, reading and collecting whatever she can to satisfy her voracious appetite for stories, facts, and history. But Jodie lives in the year 2075, and more than fifty years have passed since the banning of books and paper; it's a time when no one can own a printed book, or even print photographs. In this E-world, experiences are largely simulated, from the reconstituted food to the zoo that only shows films of all the extinct species. With her student library card, which gives her the ability to time travel, Jodie discovers that she and her friends can experience historical events and meet legendary characters, and can also find and bring home her precious books to keep safe in her secret hiding place.’

Directly from page 1 we are introduced into the time travel aspect of the book: ’ Jodie had that fizzy, foamy feeling in her tummy, as if she had swallowed a chemistry set and it was now doing its own experiments inside of her. If any other moment in her life had been as exciting as this she couldn’t think of it. She was here! She was actually here – the 25th of November 1984! This was the coolest date in the whole of time and she was sitting in it waiting for the musicians to arrive. Just minutes before, she had been in stupid 2075. They don’t even make new music in 2075. The closest thing is the beat sheet: a kind of flat hat you place on your head that pulsates in an odd rhythm and touches nerves to make your body move as if you’re dancing. It’s rubbish. But she didn’t have to worry about that now.’

Jump on for a terrific ride. Julie Hodgson has arrived! Grady Harp, November 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.