Puddlejumpers by Mark Jean and Christopher Carlson

PuddlejumpersPublished: 2009

Genre: YA urban fantasy

Length: 352 pages, 6 CDs

Setting: Illinois, recent past

Interest: I picked it up as an audio book to listen to over the holidays since we had several hour-long trips planned.

Summary: When Shawn Frazier was born, his mother died, but there was also a sudden thunderstosm, which signaled to the Puddlejumpers that Shawn was their Rainmaker. The Puddlejumpers secretly helped care for baby Shawn until his first birthday, when they kidnapped him to bring him to the Underneath so he could fulfill his destiny. Unfortunately, the Troggs attacked and Shawn was lost to the human world, ending up in an orphanage in Chicago, where he grew up in a constant battle with the director. At 13, Sean (now called Ernie Banks) is sent to work at a farm as a last ditch effort at reform. He is sent to Russ Frazier’s farm (his father’s farm, unbeknownst to the both of them) where he and Joey try to figure out what the evil Holtsapples are up to next door. The Puddlejumpers find Shawn and convince him to tranform into a Puddlejumper to save Russ’s farm and rescue the Puddlejumpers enslaved by the Troggs in the Most Dark.

Final thoughts: A very exciting book that captivated the whole family. The little Puddlejumpers were delightful and the Troggs were deliciously scary. It’s a standard plot – savior is lost and has to be convinced to take up his quest once he’s found, but it was very well done. You knew the Holtsapples were evil, but it took a while before you realized what exactly they were. The audio version was also excellent, with the narrator’s voice easily distinguishing between all the characters, and providing a nice Irish brogue for the orphanage director. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of fantasy in with their story.

Title comes from: Shawn had to save the Puddlejumpers from the Troggs. The Puddlejumpers got their name from their ability to jump through puddles to the Underneath.

Reading challenges fulfilled: None, since this was an audio book.

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