Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Once Samantha would have been happy to stay with her Grandparents for part of the summer. That was when Grandma had a lot of time to spend with her, before her assistant at the battered women's shelter quit. Now Grandma has to work all the time, and Sam will be stuck with the Colonel the whole time. Her Grandpa used to be fun once, too. They went fishing together and he laughed at her random facts. But ever since he was forced to retire from the Air Force he's been nothing but a big, huge grump! No, this is not the way Samantha planned on spending her summer. Not that she has any choice.
It begins just as she expected. Grandma's too busy to spend much time with her, the Colonel is as cranky as ever and all he ever does is hide in his room or quiz her about airplane facts, which she could care less about. (Random weird facts, like the longest time someone held their breath or how far the Wright brothers went on their first flight.) As if things weren't bad enough, Billy Burnham shows up. It's not enough for him to irritate her at home, now he has to ride his bike all the way out to her grandparents house?! This is beginning to look like the worst summer ever.
There isn't a whole lot to do when the Colonel won't take her anywhere and won't let her go out by herself. It's no wonder that when he starts acting strangely, Samantha takes notice. It's not like she has anything better to do than follow him when he sneaks around. What could he be hiding? With Billy's help, Sam is determined to solve the mystery - he might as well be useful if he won't go away. Once solved, will she tell or will she help?
I don't want to tell you everything that happens, but I can tell you that it's pretty cool. It's about the best summer project I could imagine! (Just ask my Dad, he's been building them in his garage ever since I can remember. Probably a small part of why I love this book!) Sometimes even grumpy old people have some pretty amazing ideas and talents. And sometimes something bad happening leads to something better than you could ever have imagined! Oh, and if you ever get a chance to go where they go at the end of the story, take it! Fanatic or not, it's a really cool place.