Ted and Kat's cousin Salim (and his crazy mother Aunt Gloria) have come to visit unexpectedly for a couple of days. During their stay, Salim goes for a ride on the London Eye (the giant Ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames), but he doesn't get off. The rest of the book is focused on solving the mystery of how someone could get on the Eye--a closed system--and not get off at the end of the ride. Ted and Kat together solve the mystery!
This would be interesting even without the added fact of Ted's "syndrome"--something on the autism spectrum, I'm guessing. He's incredibly high functioning and is the narrator of the book. Dowd gives us a fascinating look into someone whose brain operates differently from most people's--but instead of creating pity in the reader, she enables us to really appreciate the abilities someone like Ted has. After all, it is his unique perceptive abilities that figure out some crucial pieces of the puzzle.
All in all, this is a terrific read. The family is portrayed with all the effects such a stressful event will produce (people snapping at others, bad moods, etc.), yet Ted and Kat grow much closer as siblings and all appreciate Ted's unique gifts more by the end of the book. Well told and a great adventure that doesn't get preachy.
Things to Note/Discuss
- there are a few mentions of things that might place this book out of the realm of the precocious early elementary reading crowd if you're the sheltering type (such as the possibility, mentioned once, that Salim might have been kidnapped for sex trafficking); all in all, rare occurrences and certainly not the focal point of the book
- If you're inclined to discuss, you can certainly hone in on Ted's Aspergers Syndrome (or whatever he specifically has): talk about how the Lord has created people in all sorts of ways and gifted those around us in ways we sometimes don't know how to appreciate at first
- You can also ask if anyone picked up on the mystery answer before its big reveal in the book!