Car-jacked is a great romp down through the UK with an unlikely pairing of child genius Jack and carjacker/inadvertent kidnapper Ross.
Sparkes has done her homework, which is always great to see, from Mensa questions to Scottish accents and Dublin dialects. Car-jacked manages to stay one step ahead of the reader, mainly because of the intelligence and logic of Jack.
The story itself is a tale of unlikely friendship, buffered by a ticking clock device, with the stakes growing ever higher for both Jack and Ross. Both learn a lot about themselves over the course of the book in their interconnecting and diverging arcs.
Comic relief is provided superbly by Jack’s mother. Once Jack goes missing, she goes into full-on frantic mode, which isn’t hilarious in itself, but because of her vicarious living through her son. Her main priorities are things like his diet affecting his brain during the short time he has been missing and avoiding the disaster of Jack missing out on his cod liver oil tablets. Most of her scenes, with an exasperated husband and a fed-up police force are a riot.
A fun and quick read, recommended for high middle grade readers who enjoy mystery and adventure.