Billy Smith is having a rough first day of high school. The new kid at exclusive Francis Drake Prep, Billy embarrasses himself in front of fiery, beautiful Lexi Aquino. He makes an instant enemy in Kurt Novac, the school’s surly star quarterback. Then suddenly Billy, Lexi, and Kurt are mysteriously transported to an underworld teeming with goblins, strange animal hybrids, and powerful magic—the fact that they’re stuck there is probably Billy’s fault, too. With help from an unlikely goblin leader named Hop, the teens soon discover that goblins can be both fierce and friendly, with their own rich language, culture, and history—a history that foretells of a human arriving to claim the Goblin Crown and lead them to victory against the deadly, invading Hanorians. Could Billy—anxious, awkward Billy—be the mythical Goblin King? Could saving the goblin race be his destiny and the key to getting him, Lexi, and Kurt back home?
In his first book for children, veteran television writer Wolfe (Elementary) introduces Billy Smith, a well-meaning high school freshman, who not only makes an enemy of Kurt, the star quarterback, on the first day of school, but also transports himself, Kurt, and a girl named Lexi into another universe. There, a nation of goblins, led by the ferocious General Sawtooth, is on the verge of defeat and possible extermination at the hands of the human Hanorian Empire. Naturally, the teens are destined to play a game-changing role in the war. Aiding them is Hop, a wily goblin soldier, who realizes that Sawtooth is leading his people to destruction. The characters are well-developed, believably imperfect, and multicultural (Billy himself is biracial); the plot moves briskly; and the goblin dialect sometimes humorous, sometimes startlingly poignant is a real strength, as when a despairing Sawtooth thinks, "It're the world what're insane, that're what she meaned. In a mad world, the only sensible thing are to embrace the madness." It's a solid start to the Billy and the Goblin series. Ages 11 16.