Jack has an IQ of 170, but when he’s car-jacked he’s just as clueless as the rest of us.
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.