Friday, June 10, 2016

Johnny Hangtime reissue

25817347Gutman, Dan. Johnny Hangtime
February 16th 2016 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2000)
Copy from Young Adult Books Central

Johnny loves his job as a teen stuntman, even if it means filling in for Ricky Corvette and not being able to take the credit! He respects his director, Roland Rivers, who always makes sure that the stunts are as safe as possible... considering they might include jumping off the Empire State Building! Johnny's mom isn't wild about his work, especially since his father passed away during a stunt at Niagara Falls. When Roland finally gets the money to make his dream film that is all action and very few lines of dialog, Johnny is thrilled and so eager to do the job that he forges his mother's signature because the final stunt takes place at Niagara Falls. When Ricky insists on doing the stunt on his own, what will this mean for Johnny's career?

This short novel is action packed and filled with the sort of details young readers want to know about what it would be like to work as a stunt man. Did you know that air cushions would be hard as rocks if they didn't have proper vents to release air upon impact? There's a nice balance between technical descriptions, breathtaking stunts, and Johnny's feelings about his mother and father. 

While Ricky is a very static, obnoxious character, and costar Augusta isn't described in much detail, Johnny is a great character who really thinks about what he is doing and how it will impact his mother. His feelings about doing stunts changes a bit, especially when secrets about his father are revealed. I liked that Johnny's mother was concerned, but let him do what he needed to do, with some restrictions. 

Readers who like sports books will easily be persuaded to pick this up, especially if they've read Hobbs' Go Big or Go Home or Pam Withers' Take it to the Extreme books. Even readers who like Horowitz's Stormbreaker and other spy novels will find Johnny's tale of pulse pounding, gravity defying feats to be a quick and engaging read, especially with the fresh new cover.

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