by Lynne Jonell
New York: Holt, 2009. 291 pgs. Fiction
Christina Adnoid has lived cloistered in a house on a hill since her mother died in a lab explosion when she was small. Her father wants to keep her safe, but Christina longs to go to school and to have friends. When she discovers a secret passage out of the house she sneaks out and discovers a large group of thin, bedraggled orphans working for Lenny Loompski, a scientist wannabe, who is using the kids to "sing" a powerful substance called Zoom out of the local rock formations. Christina and Taft, one of the orphans, have a series of dangerous adventures as they try to figure out how to control the Zoom and save the orphans from their terrible lives--and their even more terrible possible deaths. Miniature airplanes controlled by song and thought, an underground lab where dear ones are imprisoned, the horrors of having to learn math from singing chickens, all combine for a thrilling and unusual adventure of Good versus Evil and the bad guys getting theirs. Jonell is the author of Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, a boffo book as well.