The Rollercoaster Boy


Todd’s friends Blake and Joe name him PB, short for Panic Button. It seems his anxiety is evident to them and the cause of ridicule. However, Todd has little reason to relax, especially when he realises his father has abandoned his tablet taking regime. It means that before too long, Dad’s behaviour is erratic. It climaxes in Todd’s father awakening him, and younger sister Laurie, to take them on holiday, in the middle of the night. They’re headed to The Paradise Hotel.

However, Dad’s not up to a holiday and takes to his bed. It leads to Todd holding the fort, encouraging his father to eat the food he takes up to their room, and taking care of Laurie. Then there are the other guests, including an angry businessman and his ill-tempered son. What’s more, it appears there’s a werewolf, or that’s what Scout, the hotel proprietor’s daughter tells them. It’s obvious the hotel is stretched and failing. However, Scout, has hopes of discovering a secret left by a famous great-great- grandmother. Could this change the hotel’s fortunes? Might Scout and her mother be able to keep the hotel safe from the clutches of Howard Knife? Might an escape room type approach crack the clues?

The Rollercoaster Boy is a truly gripping, clever, empathetic novel. We care about Todd’s circumstances and want the hotel to succeed. Then again, every clue draws us into the mystery further. Bookwagon is overjoyed to welcome a new title from the wonderful Lisa Thompson!

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The Rollercoaster Boy

A story about life’s ups and downs

Lisa Thompson, illustrated by Gemma Correll


Todd and Laurie’s father rouses the children from their beds in the middle of the night. It seems they’re going on holiday to The Paradise Hotel, the place where he’d been with their mother years before. However, the hotel is faded and failing, and the children’s father is struggling to cope. What’s more, Todd knows his father has abandoned his medication. It means that shortly after they’ve checked in, the children’s father puts himself to bed. It seems that Todd is left to look after Laurie and his father for the rest of the week.
The Rollercoaster Boy focuses upon a week at the seaside hotel. While Laurie is excited at the promises made about the beach and the fun fair, Todd is anxious about their father. After all, he cannot assess Dad’s state of mind. Then again, he cannot share concerns about Dad’s current decline with Mum, who’s working away, or Aunty Lexie, enjoying a holiday abroad.
Furthermore, there’s the hotel itself, with the strange werewolf guest, and the bad-tempered businessman and his ill-tempered son. Is it possible that this boy might lead them on a treasure hunt that might save the hotel? It seems there’s some sort of a mystery that offers a lifeline to the hotel’s survival. At least, that’s what Scout, the hotel proprietor’s daughter leads the children into. It’s a distraction and then a mission. Lisa Thompson has our full attention. It seems that we’re turning keys and considering ‘red herrings’. It seems that like The Graveyard Riddle, amongst her other much loved books, The Rollercoaster Boy is a title that keeps us gripped and guessing!


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