In THE BREAKTHROUGH, thirteen-year old Jack is plucked from the clutches of a riptide by his older brother, Michael. When Michael slides into a coma, Jack can’t live with the guilt. He wanders to a carnival and sneaks into a hot air balloon basket. Without warning, the balloon lifts into the air, transporting Jack to the fourth dimensional planet of Venus. When a Venusian gives Jack a magic crystal to heal his brother, Jack thinks his problems are solved—but they are just beginning! Soon, Jack finds himself trapped on Pluto, a planet controlled by the tyrant Danko. Danko learns of the crystal and will stop at nothing to seize it and ultimately control earth.
THE BREAKTHROUGH appeals to boys because it is a plot-driven story, with fantasy, mystery, a ruthless villain and plenty of “gross-out” scenes. Here’s an example of a scene where the main character, Jack, accidentally rolls into a nest of insects:
This unique novel was written by Ann Tufariello. Below is a little taste of Ann's wonderful prose:
"A hissing, buzzing sound nudged me out of the trance. What was that? Soon, a slight tickling sensation escalated to a pinching. Something was crawling all over me or, rather, thousands of creepy things were crawling all over my body, nipping me. The prickly bush must have been a nest of insects. Bugs marched across my face, down my neck and under my shirt. Each one feasted on my flesh as if I were a rotting corpse. The incredible itching and stinging was too much to bear. I screamed, jumping up and shaking my arms and legs. I tugged at the bugs, trying to pull them off of me, but it didn’t help. Instead, more and more bugs crawled up and down my body, sticking to my clammy skin and gnawing me. Then, the buzzing sound got louder and louder and I could feel bugs scampering in my ear canal. I jammed my finger in my ear and tried to yank them out, but I pushed them in further. I screamed for help but only the howling wind answered my call. Then, I remembered my crystal."