This short novel is action packed and filled with the sort of details young readers want to know about what it would be like to work as a stunt man. Did you know that air cushions would be hard as rocks if they didn't have proper vents to release air upon impact? There's a nice balance between technical descriptions, breathtaking stunts, and Johnny's feelings about his mother and father.
While Ricky is a very static, obnoxious character, and costar Augusta isn't described in much detail, Johnny is a great character who really thinks about what he is doing and how it will impact his mother. His feelings about doing stunts changes a bit, especially when secrets about his father are revealed. I liked that Johnny's mother was concerned, but let him do what he needed to do, with some restrictions.
Readers who like sports books will easily be persuaded to pick this up, especially if they've read Hobbs' Go Big or Go Home or Pam Withers' Take it to the Extreme books. Even readers who like Horowitz's Stormbreaker and other spy novels will find Johnny's tale of pulse pounding, gravity defying feats to be a quick and engaging read, especially with the fresh new cover.
Johnny Hangtime is a very fun book, and a great one for boys. Not only is Johnny a likable character, he's also got a job that many young boys would love to have.
Johnny's dad was a stuntman and Johnny has followed in his footsteps. While the bratty star, Ricky Corvette, gets all the credit, Johnny spends his time jumping out of planes, off of buildings and into fountains (while in flames).
Meanwhile, he's got normal kid problems. His contract forbids him from letting anyone know that he's the 'stuntkid' for Ricky and it also restricts him from possibly getting hurt in his normal life.
That means no dances. No gym. No fighting. No anything. All the 'normal' kids can't understand why he doesn't do the things they do. And, it makes him a perfect target for a bully.
Things start jumping fast when Johnny is scheduled to do a stunt similar to the one that took his father's life. The ending is great---I won't tell you what it is, though. I'll just say that it will make Johnny fans happy.
If there are any movie producers out there reading this, I recommend you take a look at making this book into a motion picture. It would transfer onto the screen really well and be a blast for younger audiences.