"JED AND THE JUNKYARD WAR" by Steven Bohls, Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 298 pages (f) (ages 9-12)
January 26, 2017
“Jed and the Junkyard War” by Steven Bohls is a quirky debut full of fast-paced action and middle grade humor, which makes it an enjoyable read.
When Jed Jenkin’s parents leave him in Yellowstone National Park the day before his 12th birthday and tell him to make his way home to Denver on his own, it’s not as unusual of an occurrence as one might think. Jed is used to his parents challenging him in that way.
The real adventure begins when he makes it home to find his parents missing. Jed finds a can opener, canned food, water bottles, a strange watch, an iron key and a note telling him to crawl down the tunnel behind the dishwasher to find his grandpa and save his parents.
What lies at the end of the tunnel is a junkyard world where people fight each other over canned food and against junk robots called “dreads” for their lives. Because of the way his parents prepared him, Jed earns his way onto “The Bessie,” a flying ship full of junk sailors.
Jed and the crew make their way through one adventure and mishap to the next, discovering more about the junkyard world and Jed’s mysterious past. With odd directions from his parents such as “push every red button you see” and tense meetings with the even odder king of the land, “Jed and the Junkyard War” hits all the sweet spots of a middle grade story.
Bohls definitely has a talent in writing adventure, never letting Jed — or the reader — get any rest until the end. The protagonist and his sidekicks are strange and humorous, and the villains are dark and threatening in just the right junkyard way.
This first installment in a planned trilogy only breaks into the world building, setting the reader up in the junkyard world only to find more secrets and information at the end with hopes to learn more in the sequel.
“Jed and the Junkyard War” has no sexual content and no swearing but does contain nongraphic battle scenes with weapons and robots.