Review of I Am the Walrus

I Am the Walrus I Am the Walrus [N.O.A.H. Files]
by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman
Middle School, High School    Little, Brown    400 pp.
4/23    9780759555242    $17.99
e-book ed.  9780759555259    $9.99

Fourteen-year-old Noah Prime is late for school and collides with classmate Sahara on his way in, although he can’t remember how it happened. But that’s not the only strange thing that happens that week. He suddenly freezes up and topples over when confronted by bullies, embarrasses himself on the dance floor with Sahara, and performs a difficult gymnastics routine with ease on the first try. Noah’s best friend, Ogden, gradually works out that when Noah is stressed, he exhibits the defense mechanisms of various animals: bird, possum, penguin, chimpanzee, and—when he is accidentally trapped with Sahara in a refrigerated meat locker—walrus. Early in the novel, the reader is given teasing glimpses into further mysteries. A boy named Noah Tercero is captured and killed in Argentina, as is Noah Secundus in England. Do they have similar abilities? And does the same fate await Noah Prime—or can he figure things out with the help of Ogden and Sahara? With brisk pacing, offbeat humor, and endearingly quirky characters, the plot grows more outlandish with each chapter, which is perhaps fitting for a book whose title alludes to a famously nonsensical Beatles song. Shusterman and Elfman (co-authors of the Accelerati trilogy) deliver the goods in this entertaining science fiction romp, leaving readers eager for the next installment.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

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