Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen is an action-packed science fiction adventure with a difference. An Own Voices novel, the main character, Rory Hobble, has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – an invisible disability that is often misunderstood and not often shared in children’s literature.
In this exciting story, 11-year-old Rory lives a life of challenges – not only does he need to deal with the upsetting thoughts caused by OCD but he also has to deal with a mother who is unwell herself and can be abusive towards him. In an attempt to find calm, he seeks solace in the stars.
We meet Rory on the night when he spots something unusual through his telescope. He counts five strange purple lights he has never seen before – they must be intruders. Why are they there? What do they want? Rory doesn’t have much time to think about it. Issues like a new social worker, their tiny flat and no food for breakfast, along with his own inner worries give him more than enough to handle.
When Rory returns from school to find Mum has been abducted by the Whiffetsnatcher and his new social worker knows something about it, he has no choice but to go after her. Along the way, he encounters a human civilisation on a Martian moon, aliens, monsters and has to speak to alien whales. Readers will be carried away with Rory on this powerful adventure as he learns to understand and accept the messages in his head and fights for the future he deserves.
It’s fascinating to find an empathy-building story in such other-worldly science fiction. Rory’s story is insightful and sensitively told allowing readers to understand more about what life is like for children with OCD who also live in poverty with a parent who isn’t coping and who require input from a social worker. At the same time, children who feel different and struggle with some of these challenges will feel seen, understood and valued.
Thank you to Maximilian Hawker for this exciting book. I will be sharing it with my children’s secondary school where so many other children will be able to benefit from it.
Onjali Q. Rauf
“A boy-and-social-worker space-travelling duo… What’s not to love?! A truly unique sci-fi adventure, which does not shy away from the difficult realities being faced by some children here on Earth. Uplifting, and at moments so insightful it staggers, it’s definitely a story Aniyah from The Star Outside My Window would have picked up.”
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