So this debut doesn't actually have much to do with fungus or something you'd find itchy, it's about this teenager probably about as tall as me named Itchingham Lofte who has one hobby and does it proudly: He's an element collector, hoping to collect the one-hundred and eighteen items on the Periodic Table. Why? Science always intrigued him. Maybe he's been called a nerd his whole life and wants to use his brains to concoct something. In the meantime though, his experiments lead to disastrous circumstances, like explosions, putrid odours, even an accidental poison that goes on for a while in the first act, and you know something? I loved reading it. Why? For the same reason The Golden Book of Chemsitry Experiments by Robert Brent was apparently banned. It's not really...legal. I learned from this book how pure sodium is like instant TNT when connected with air, the flammability of phosphorus, the big difference between sodium and sodium chloride, and there are a few others but I don't want to spoil them because I wish this book had more of it rather than mourning over this mysterious but hilarious accident in the first act. If there was one or two more, this book yould be completely amazing. Not that this book isn't amazing. I felt like saying Mwahahahaha while reading this book. It makes science so much more appealing than school makes it out to be, that something tells me criminals will use this book as well as Simon Mayo's other books in this series to make homemade bombs and give police an unpleasant stomach. And don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything really giant in this book.
Surprisingly, Itch is not just fun-filled science propaganda. It has this very interesting story about the general human greed and huge companies who pollute and have all the power, a race against them and it isn't easy to beat them. It also glorifies illegal activity as long as it's well-intentioned. How do you think fifteen-year old Itchingham Lofte can get his hands on any lithium or titanium? Ebay? He has to tell lies sometimes if he wants to keep doing what he does best. All this would be a bit pointless however if it didn't have an actual story, and this story is so neat and mysterious in some ways, notably at the end, that Anthony Horowitz was right, you will be itching to read more. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens as the battle against the kings continues and what other illegal things I can find. Plus, Itch isn't on his own, he has a family that supports him and goes on adventures with him; a family that sticks by him. I enjoyed that, it allowed there to be a boy-girl teamwork element without getting smothered with romance.
Itch is a special kind of novel: one where stink bombs are funny and you don't have to hide what it is you're laughing about, one that's punchy, one that can make you feel for a guilty person, and one that should be read in social studies, and by social studies, I mean the interaction kind and the geography kind.