8 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Title: Cosmic

Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce

Genre: Contemporary (with a bit of Sci Fi since it’s sort of set in SPACE) / Children’s

Publisher: Macmillan
Publication date: July 2008 (First edition)
Paperback: 256 pages

Liam has always felt a bit like he’s stuck between two worlds. This is primarily because he’s a twelve-year-old kid who looks like he’s about thirty. Sometimes it’s not so bad, like when his new principal mistakes him for a teacher on the first day of school or when he convinces a car dealer to let him take a Porsche out on a test drive. But mostly it’s just frustrating, being a kid trapped in an adult world. And so he decides to flip things around. Liam cons his way onto the first spaceship to take civilians into space, a special flight for a group of kids and an adult chaperone, and he is going as the adult chaperone. It’s not long before Liam, along with his friends, is stuck between two worlds again only this time he’s 239,000 miles from home.

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought (Kindle edition)

Why did I read this book: Jaclyn Moriarty talked about it on her Smugglivus’ guest post and I bought the book after I read the post.


Cosmic proves rather successfully that the most ludicrous premise can turn into a wonderful, believable story in the hands of a competent writer:

Liam Digby is only 12 but he is VERY tall. He is so tall that people actually think he is an adult (the fact that he has Premature Facial Hair also helps). For most part, Liam enjoys the benefits and advantages of being regarded as an adult: he goes to places he is not supposed to; he gets to drive a Porsche; and after passing the height restrictions, enjoys the scariest rollercoaster ever: the Cosmic. On the downside, being too tall and adult-like somehow creates unreasonable expectations and it’s not unusual for Liam to hear the words: “a big guy like you, you should know better” .

Still, the perks outweigh the disadvantages especially when – by pretending to be an adult AND a father (to his friend Florida Kirby) – Liam manages to win a competition to go to the world’s newest, most exciting theme park IN CHINA, The Infinite Park. Whilst their parents think they are going to a school trip to the Lake District, celebrity-obsessed Florida and Liam along with 4 other winners and their kids travel to China, where they learn that the five kids will actually be going to SPACE in the Infinite Possibility Rocket “ride” and only one of the adults get to accompany them; this adults will be voted by the kids after going through a series of tests that sort of come across as Survivor Meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Which is how 12 year-old Liam ends up in a rocket. Lost in space. With 5 kids. As the sole responsible ADULT. Where he is recording a message to his father explaining how he ended up there – which is actually the book itself.

Do you see what I mean by a “ludicrous” premise? But the thing is, and I can’t stress this enough: Cosmic is less about how Liam ends up in Space and more about what it means to be an adult or a child and about unreasonable expectations and about ones too by exposing in a wonderful, funny and moving fashion the intricacies of the relationship between fathers and sons or daughters.

Between the extremely funny:

Even though I could barely see the Premature Facial Hair, once I knew it was there, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was ticklish and it was tempting to stroke it. Stroking it made people notice it and when people noticed it then tended to shout, ‘Wolverine’ and worse. Which is why I decided to get rid of it. I slashed at the brown candyfloss with dad’s razor, which did get rid of it. Sadly it also got rid of a lot of blood. (…) Dad said, ‘He’s been shaving.’ ‘What?’ said Mum. ‘He can’t shave! He’s much too young to shave.’ ‘Well, he’s definitely too young to have a beard,’ said Dad. And he showed me how to shave in a less life-threatening manner. ‘The only thing is,’ he said, ‘now you’ve started, you’ll have to carry on. The hairs will get harder and harder the more you shave them.’ So I don’t get wisps of candyfloss any more. I get this stuff that looks like naturally occurring toilet brush.

And the very moving:

One person has just left the crowd and is heading over to me. It’s Dad. He’s walking towards me like there’s some special gravity pulling him towards me. And maybe there is. Maybe everyone’s got their own special gravity that lets you go far away, really far away sometimes, but which always bring you back in the end.

this book was almost perfect in tone – it does reveal certain Truths without being didactic and it made me laugh and tear up in equal measure. Interestingly both laughter and tears meet up perfectly in the character of Florida Kirby – oh how I loved her and her sadness and smartness hidden behind her celebrity-obsessive personality.

I think Cosmic would be enjoyed by just about everyone in the world and in the words of Gob Bluth: “What you need to know… [dramatic pause] Is that it’s magic” or more to point: it is totally cosmic. Read it.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:


‘Ohmygod, the Earth has gone! What have you done with the Earthyouidiot!’

And this interaction between Liam and his dad after Liam disappeared for an afternoon of fun at the Cosmic ride and made his father worried sick:

(…) ‘And then I find you cheerfully waving and eating chips on a fairground ride. How d ‘you think I feel about that? ‘Happy that I’m alive?’ He glared at me and said, ‘Possibly. In some remote and noble corner of my heart, yes. But mostly no.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry.’ He then said ‘You should know better, a big lad like you.’

Rating: 8 – Excellent leaning towards 9

Reading Next: 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

You Might Also Like


  • Ceilidh
    January 18, 2011 at 5:03 am

    I love Frank Cottrell Boyce’s work. Have you read Millions? It was originally a screenplay for the Danny Boyle film but Boyce adapted it into a book and it’s just as great as the film.

  • Ana
    January 18, 2011 at 5:22 am

    I didn’t read the book but I looooved the movie. it’s luuurvely 😀

  • Jennifer @ An Abundance of Books
    January 18, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I want this book, now! I have a few students who might like this as well. Is it out in the UK? If it is, maybe I can find it in Dubai…

    This sounds awesome, thanks for the review!

    Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

  • Ana
    January 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Jennifer – YES, it is out in the UK in fact it came out here first and Mr Boyce is a British writer 😀

  • Jennifer @ An Abundance of Books
    January 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Awesome, will start stalking it immediately!

    Jennifer (An Abundance of Books)

  • Bella F.
    January 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I didnt know Millions was made into a book! Loved the movie though. Will have to look for both books:)

  • Devyn
    June 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    What a great book, I highly recommend it to everyone! 🙂

  • Kayla
    June 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    This was a good book and i would read it again anytime!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  • Budd
    December 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Just listened to this with my Daughter on a road trip. It was very, very good. We both enjoyed it equally. It was very funny and kind of appropriate to listen to father/daughter. I loved it. My daughter reviewed it on my blog today.

  • Sheila Lugo
    March 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    i read this book for my book report and it was the most amazing thing i have ever read. I have never gotten so sucked in to a book. But this one is just amazing personally (: :mrgreen:

  • Anonymous
    September 11, 2012 at 9:16 am

    😮 i like it

  • Sean
    October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 I Love This Book OMG

  • Anonymous
    May 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Cool I love this book

  • Anonymous
    May 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    It is the best book in the whole entire history of the world!!

    “Hi, Dad!”

  • Saydee
    January 30, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I like to book but I’m doing a new chapter in the book for school xP

  • Anonymous
    September 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Hi do you know where I can find this book thanks xxx

  • Anonymous
    March 23, 2015 at 1:35 pm


  • Anonymous
    March 23, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    at waterstones

  • Anonymous
    October 15, 2015 at 5:30 am

  • Angel
    April 30, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I love this book i wote a book a Review a about Liam:)

  • Angel
    April 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Thanks for ur help!

  • Angel
    May 13, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Yes I’m back again,because this time I had to do another book review again on Cosmic but in more detail if this wasn’t a website I would be stuck on my homework but thanks to you this is a website <3

  • Jan
    July 2, 2016 at 8:33 am

    How did the book end?

  • frank cottrel boyce
    October 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    YES! It is very true

  • Jane
    November 4, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    I think I like Cosmic more than Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

  • Anonymous
    October 22, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Why didn’t mention where they live?

Leave a Reply