Jack Mattingly is a genius. But when his parents' car is hi-jacked, with him inside it, for once he's as clueless as the rest of us. The car-jacker doesn't know Jack's in the car-yet. But it's only a matter of time before he's discovered. And then, anything could happen ...
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Car-jacked is the story of Jack, a 12 year old genius with a 170 IQ. He's accidentally abducted when Ross, a bank robber from Scotland, steals the family car not realising he's in the back. Everything in Jack's life has been carefully planned up until this moment, how will he cope?
We soon learn that all is not as it seems with Ross, for a hardened criminal who has spent time in jail... he kind of grows on you. He doesn't want to endanger Jack and tries to get rid of him as soon as he can. But when he realises he's left an asthmatic on the side of the road without his inhaler, he goes back for him. The unlikely duo set out together on what turns out to be an enlightening adventure for both of them. The story turns your stereotypical feelings on their head. You come to care for the bad guy and the good guys don't always leave you with a warm feeling.
This is the first Ali Sparkes book I've read, I was very impressed and it certainly wont be my last. She hides little clues throughout pertaining to Ross and his health. Just like in real life you get that niggling feeling that something isn't right, but you just keep on going. It even took the genius ages to work it out, but when he does you get right on board with his outrageous plan.
Sparkes really makes the characters come to life with emotion and relatable features. "Denise wished Mrs Mattingly would get properly hysterical so she might have an excuse to slap her." I think we can all relate to Denise there! The constant comparison of reactions between Mum and Dad, she is "why is he doing this to me?" and he is "why is he doing that?" When Jack tries things for the first time you get the sense of wonder, I can't remember the last time I tasted something amazing and "ordinary" for the first time... makes me wish I could.
This is one of those books that sneakily teaches you things and you don't realise. There are lots of bits to pick up through the story... we'll just forget about the bits that teach you how to evade the police! It very much reminds me of Alex Rider from Anthony Horowitz, kind of the same, but different.
There are lots of interesting insights into the unfamiliar. When they crash, a logical mind thinks "crashed cars sometimes explode. Got to get out!" Jack's mind calculates how much fuel is in the tank and the possibilities of a punctured tank and electrical wires causing ignition, before deciding they've got to get out. His overprotective mother, bullies her son and becomes wholly unlikeable, until you are given more of the story by Jack at the end of the book.
You are taken through a rollercoaster of emotions [and the ending... why Ali?! WHY?!] and end up with a truly satisfied feeling after reading Car-jacked.
I would recommend this to any reader. I didn't feel like there was anything that would exclude anyone, there's nothing offensive or rude. While there are a few themes that might be suited for older readers they are handled in such a sensitive way that they are accessible to all.
Take a look at some of Ali Sparkes' other fantastic books below.
Lucy is the only survivor from another planet. She's spent ten years on a spaceship learning how to be human, and now the end of her journey is in sight ... But a killer alien has hitched a lift. And it's just a matter of time before it starts on the human race ... A thrilling page-turner that's perfect for Doctor Who fans.
Ben and Rachel can't believe their eyes when they find a hidden underground vault at the bottom of their garden. Inside are two frozen figures, a boy and a girl, whose scientist father left them there in cryonic suspension over fifty years ago. Then Rachel accidentally presses a button, and something incredible happens ...
Eddie loves going exploring in the local caves. One day he gets lost in the dark and discovers a hidden passageway ... He meets a girl down there who knows all the secrets of the caves ... but she can't seem to ever leave. Who is she? Or rather ... what is she? Finding out the truth will change Eddie's life for ever.
Lisa has an incredible ability - she can to talk to the dead. The only problem is that they all want something from her, and they never leave her alone! But on a trip to London it's the living who suddenly need her help. Lisa knows she must do something even if it means putting her own life on the line.
Despite the security surrounding Gideon and Luke on their family holiday, they are far from safe. Someone is coming for them. A man with the cold air of an experienced killer. Are their powers of telekinesis enough to save them, now that a brutal murderer is on their tail?
With his supernatural ability to conjure spectacular illusions, Spook Williams knows he is destined for greatness. So when a mysterious gentleman known only as 'The Collector' offers him the chance to take part in a daring heist, will Spook be able to resist this opportunity to flex his powers?
When Alex suddenly vanishes into thin air, his brother Jacob is determined to track him down. But someone is playing a deadly game of cat and mouse ... and the brothers are about to walk right into his trap. Can they outsmart their opponent before it's too late?
Mia can't remember how she ended up unconscious on a deserted beach. All she knows is that something terrible has happened - and that she is responsible. Realizing she can never go back to her old life, Mia vanishes off the radar. But with enemies closing in around her, there's no way she can stay hidden for ever ...
Dax home life is unhappy. He jumps at the chance of attending the boarding school. When he gets there, he is amazed to find himself amongst kids, with all sorts of powers. He immediately feels at home. But first a journalist tracks him down. And then he begins to wonder, who exactly is behind the school. Suddenly his fox senses are on high alert.
Dax is starting to get used to his life as a shapeshifter. At last he feels safe and secure, surrounded by people he trusts, and with real friends who understand what he is going through. But then everything changes, and Dax finds himself in danger beyond his wildest dreams.
*OUT OF PRINT - Alternative available 9780192746092*
When Dax receives an urgent call, he knows he has to drop everything and race to the aid of his friends. Strange things are happening - unbelievable occurrences seem to be following them wherever they go. Each of the friends must call upon their special powers to try to outwit their pursuers - but will these abilities spell the end for them all?
Dax and his friends settle into their new secret hideaway in the Lake District, a place where they can be safe. But all is not well in the spirit world - strange messages are coming through and Dax, Gideon, Lisa and Mia must once again join forces. Will Dax be able to match the evil Catherine?
In the finale to the series, Dax must save his friends from being sold as commodities, and in the process find out who his mother really is and how he and his friends ended up with their amazing powers.