Sensitive, introverted Billy McBride has a hard time fitting in with his fellow pupils at St. Anthony’s Grammar School, but as Captain Billy Apollo, youngest Captain of Galactic Fleet, he is everything he longs to be. But when faced with real-life enemies, can Billy McBride become more like Captain Billy Apollo, conquer his fear and stand up for himself?
Billy McBride escapes the difficulty of being considered different through a world of imagination. With his trusty Engineer, Lieutenant Matt Sherman (aka his best friend) and fellow fighter, Shondo, (aka his older brother, Sean) by his side, Captain Billy Apollo defends the Galactic Federation and Empress Lucinda while warding off the evil Mack the Black (aka Sister Mary Immaculata). But Apollo can remain in his world for only so long, and when Billy McBride surfaces into the reality of school yard villains, he lacks the courage of his alter ego.
With the arrival of new student, Lucy Ross, Billy wishes to be more like Captain Apollo, but it isn’t that easy for the introverted second grader. However, as his 9th birthday party approaches, Billy feels things are looking up. He has his best friend, Matt. He discovers Lucy likes astronomy. His brother’s band is playing at his party. And, best of all, Apollo 13 is launching on the same day. Billy is happier than he could ever imagine. But the morning of his party doesn’t go as planned, the party holds an unpleasant surprise, and in the following days, things seem to go from bad to worse. Not only does Billy have to contend with his second grade nemesis, his older brother is hiding a dark secret, his family is facing a crisis, and his beloved Apollo 13 crew is in deep trouble.
It almost seems too much for the young Billy to handle.
Set in 1970 and told from several points-of-view, the novel provides the reader the inner thoughts of the characters as they deal with personal struggles and historic events. Syd Gilmore skillfully tells the story of Billy’s struggle to belong. His characters are well established and the novel’s plot unfolds smoothly. There are plenty of twists and unexpected adventures to keep the reader engaged. Gilmore nicely captures the social atmosphere of America after the Sixties through the innocence of Billy, the curiosity of Sean and the confusion of their parents – a feat to be commended, a book not to be missed.
~Kat Kennedy for IndieReader