Jamie Drake’s dad is famous. He’s an astronaut, and he’s currently orbiting the earth on the International Space Station, about 400kms above the planet’s surface. Soon he will launch a series of tiny interstellar probes, which will search the galaxy for signs of alien life. What could possibly go wrong?
Back on earth, Jamie misses his dad. Not only is he not around to help Jamie prepare for his algebra test, but he’ll also be missing Jamie’s 11th birthday. While his dad is in space, Jamie, his younger sister and his artist mother are living with his ex-rocker grandfather. To get away from the noise and chaos of his home life, Jamie goes for a walk and finds himself at a seemingly abandoned observatory. That’s when things start to get weird.
Despite having a very contemporary setting (smartphones, laptops and Skype are all key plot elements) I had a strong sense of nostalgia while reading The Jamie Drake Equation. This family drama/sci-fi-from-a-child’s-eye-view story reminded me of classics from my own childhood - especially Chocky by John Wyndham and the film E.T. There is some real science and maths in here, too (Fibonacci sequence, golden ratio, how astronauts go to the toilet) as well as some big sci-fi ideas. It also addresses themes of responsibility, parental fallibility, family cohesion and growing up.
The Jamie Drake Equation could be enjoyed by readers who like tales of science fiction, space travel, aliens, maths, defunct heavy metal bands called Death Panda, science and family drama, probably in the 9-12 age range.
The Jamie Drake Equation will be published in March 2017. An uncorrected proof copy of the book was given to me by the publisher for review purposes.