Book Review – Oom by DJ Webber
Joe Hills lives on a farm in Australia. There is a drought. The sheep are dying, and his family does not have the money needed to do anything about it. They are literally a day away from losing the farm when they get help from a very strange visitor. Enter Oom, an alien whose people consider this particular chunk of land something close to sacred for reasons not entirely clear to them or to us (until the end), but it has to do with ‘Ascension.’ Oom helps Joe’s family find water and save the farm. He befriends Joe and helps him understand more about himself and the universe.
One thing I especially liked about this book is that it doesn’t treat kids that might read it as ‘children,’ that is, incapable of thinking. There is a bit of philosophy, value lessons, a little science, and a lot of encouragement to consider big questions about life, the universe, and everything.
There are flaws, though. The prose is a bit choppy, amateurish in places (at least to my American ear), especially in the beginning, and it gets off to a slow start. There are numerous punctuation errors, especially the frequent omission of commas after introductory clauses, to set off participle phrases, and between independent clauses joined by a conjunction. (I’m basing this point on the Chicago Manual of Style, which is, of course, the American standard for fiction. I’m not familiar with the style guide that would apply in Australia.) There were also several formatting problems with the Kindle edition. These are hardly critical problems and do not detract from enjoyment of the story.
As a YA book, I liked this overall. It’s a good story with interesting and likeable characters. It could use a little bit of rework and editing, though.