A fun read with mischief and family characters, Aimee Goga
Jesse O with illustrations by Toby Morris
August 24, 2021
Jesse O writes an enjoyable story for early tweens about a 12 year old boy named Zac in Locked Down. Zac lives peacefully in the South Island of New Zealand until, all of a sudden, the whole country is locked down because of an outbreak of the XB276 influenza.
This story is written in first person as Zac goes through the ups and downs of lockdown with his mum, two sisters, younger brother, pet cats, hens, and goldfish, and, last but not least, his younger brother Daniel’s pet rat Rex.
The book is written as if it is Zac’s diary, which puts things in a different perspective. A cool feature of this book is that there are little ‘sticky notes’ that Zac has put inside his diary that explain the meaning of words that some readers may not know.
As for the format of the sentences, there are times when I think the author is trying to put emphasis on a word, but instead of putting it in italics, or CAPITAL LETTERS, they write the word with only the first letter Capitalized, which makes things confusing at times.
Parents need to know that at times there was some mild language used in the book. Altogether there was one use of “blo*dy”, “bug*er”, “pis*ed”, and two uses of “d*mn”.
Other than those things it was a good read, and pretty well written. It is cool how Jesse manages to get so many personalities into one family, and even better when you get to read about how they all manage together in a lockdown.
From a bossy, phone and boy-obsessed older sister, to a younger brother who thinks he’s Spiderman, and an ancient French man who looks like he’s ex-army, to an uncle who lives online and gets inside information about the pandemic, Jesse O has you covered!
Although Zac’s family has been through and goes through a lot in this book, they still bring some messages of hope, creativity, and a bit of Kiwi ingenuity!
I would recommend this book for 9-12 year olds. I read this as a 13 year old and felt that it was a bit young for me, but everyone reads at their own level, and I still enjoyed the book! I also wish there had been a bit more interaction between Zac and Stella (the girl he seems to like). A few more plot twists would have made the book a lot more interesting but overall, Jesse O has done a great job.
Locked Down by Jesse O is a great book for younger readers who enjoy creativity, a bit of mischief, a bit of mystery, and a lot of fun!
- Aimee is 13 and lives in Palmerston North.