Oh my, prepare to take a wild ride…
Ecksdot, pronounced X-dot, is one creative adventure. The main character is a six-grader named Nate, who loves to spend time in his imagination. He dreams about being a superhero and is bored by the mundane routine of school and his new neighbor, Danny, who is uncool and trying to be his friend. “I wanted to be a hero. That’s all I wanted in the whole world. But I was surrounded by stupid every-day sort of stuff. Like school. And friggin Danny.” I was blown away with how Washburn nailed the mind of a six-grader. It was simply fantastic. You will be a kid again, reading this book. I know I was.
Nate develops a love-hate relationship with Danny. Danny loves the pictures Nate draws of robots and likes to pretend with Nate that the robots are real and on a special mission. But at the same time, Danny is kinda weird, and Nate worries about his reputation among the other kids at school.
In alternating chapters, we are made aware of an actual group of invisible, human-like robot beings called “Andbots”. One of the Andbots, Eckdot, wants to make contact with Nate, even though it has never been done before. Humans can’t see or hear Andbots. He believes Nate might be able to help. The Andbots don’t know why they are on earth, or how they got there, but someone, an enemy, is infecting them one by one with a deadly virus. When Nate falls asleep one night, Ecksdot enters the nightmare Nate is having and tries to talk to him, showing him a barn and an object that he will find if he goes to the barn. Nate remembers the robot from the dream and drags a willing Danny to explore a big white barn near his home. Nate realizes the barn is the exact one from his dream, and after some drama from being caught breaking into the barn, they eventually return and get inside, finding the exact object the “robot man” had shown him. Nate’s dreams were becoming reality -“My dream is real.”
The book takes Nate and Danny further and further into discovering the Andbots and the evil they are fighting against. Washburn uses some hand drawn illustrations to enhance the story (think “The Book Thief”). There’s other cool stuff, like how each Andbot got its unique name (ie; Ecksdot, Jeepers). You’ll discover how they are powered by invisible purple crystals that grow on earth, how the red virus infects and spreads in the Andbots, changing them into something dark.
I want to say more, but I simply don’t want to spoil the discovery that comes from reading it. I guess only the next book will explain all the mysteries that we are left with at the end. Mainly, who are the Andbots, what are the Andbots, and where did they come from? And what part will Nate and Danny ultimately play in their future?
Any age will enjoy this book, but middle school boys in particular need to get excited about this one!