Tomo Saves the Day
The silence between him and the cops seemed endless. He started to feel queasy. This was the first time he had ever been approached by a cop and he knew he was guilty.
Ricky Perez has always dreamed of being accepted into one of the top art and design schools in New York. He has a passion for drawing, and he desperately wants to become a comic book artist. Yet, despite his passion, his mother has other ideas. She doesn’t want her son to be wasting time on his scribbles; she wants him to focus on his academia so that he will be accepted into what she considers to be a ‘proper’ school.
“Tomo Saves the Day” describes Ricky’s attempts to follow his passion, despite the obstacles presented by his seemingly strict mother. As he skips school, endures terrifying interviews, and desperately tries to prove himself, Ricky is almost entirely on his own. There is only one man who might be able to help him – and his name is Tomo.
“Tomo Saves the Day” is a mix between a middle grade and a young adult story. It is aimed at younger readers and tells a story that has the potential to thrill its audience. Despite a seemingly simple narrative, there is a surprising amount of tension conveyed in its 21 pages. In that respect, and whilst it may not be particularly lengthy, it is a very worthwhile read. For most readers, it can be devoured in a number of hours. It is a story that you will wish to devour, too; Madeline Slovenz’s writing is action-based and extremely compelling, darting from one event to the next at a very satisfying pace.
For the most part, the characters in this story are fairly well developed. “Tomo Saves the Day” is actually a prequel to a full-length novel that Slovenz is in the process of writing. As a result, a number of these characters will undoubtedly be returning, and, naturally, they will be more thoroughly developed at that time. This is something that “Tomo Saves the Day” will benefit from, for whilst it is a fully standalone story, it is easy to want more – more character development, more interactions between the characters, and more details regarding them. This was probably my biggest complaint regarding the story, but it was quite a minor one, as, in terms of the narrative, the slight lack of character development never interfered with my reading experience.
Honestly, this story surprised me. I never would have expected to enjoy reading a narrative that is based around the American education system: as I live in the UK, it’s unfamiliar to me, and, as a result, I probably wouldn’t have picked up this story of my own accord. This would have been a mistake. The fact that it focusses on American schooling never once prevented me from understanding the narrative. In fact, there is even a section where Slovenz takes the time to explain a little bit about the process. This was not only useful, but also quite skilfully done, as it didn’t break the flow of the story.
Overall, I can recommend “Tomo Saves the Day”: it is a quick, simple read, and it will certainly be appreciated by any younger readers. Personally, I will be awaiting the release of Slovenz’s full-length novel, and, upon it’s release, I will certainly be giving it a read.
Review by Emily Weatherburn
Emily is a freelance proofreader and copyeditor who recently graduated from the University of Exeter with a first-class honours degree in English. She has always loved the written word and promotes reading in others by sharing her reviews of books and short stories.