Saturday, June 25, 2011

When the Lights Go Out by Max Elliot Anderson

When the Lights Go Out. Max Elliot Anderson. Comfort Publishing. August 2011. YA Ages 8-13. 172 pages. ISBN #: 9781936695478.

Set to be published near the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Max Elliot Anderson's book is meant to convey to young boys (and I think girls, as well as readers of any age) the seriousness of that catastrophic day when 3,000 people died because of a terrorist attack!

Peyton's Dad is a Colonel in the Army. What he does Peyton doesn't know, but he thinks it's something like being a Ranger. So Peyton and his friends decide they will begin their training so that they can become actual Rangers who conduct special missions. One morning while they are hiding, Peyton overhears a telephone conversation between his Dad and someone else about a secret "package" being delivered which must be guarded because of its dangerous contents.

In a second overheard conversation, Peyton and his friends learn that other people are aware of this delivery and are determined to steal it, somehow distracting the soldiers by another means. The plot quickens as the Rangers-in-training try to figure out how to stop this theft from happening without letting Peyton's Dad know about the overheard phone call. The author does a great job in creating the tension, fear, and seriousness of this new and very real mission these boys take on.

The end will surprise you and at the same time make you realize the threat is constant and one's alertness and preparation must be just as vigilant. Great job, Mr. Anderson!!!


  1. Great review, Max. When the Lights Go Out sounds like an awesome book for my nephew. Thanks for featuring this book, Viviane.

  2. Max Elliot Anderson loved to write stories for young boys and this one is no exception.
    Peyton Aldrich's father is in the army and is a colonel that specializes in intelligence. Peyton and his family find themselves always living some place new because of his father's job. He always manages to find some new friends everywhere he goes as all young boys can do. He and his friends pretends to train themselves as rangers never knowing what they may be getting themselves into. They find themselves in the middle of a terrorist plot. Will they find themselves in deep danger or can they find themselves a way out.