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London Calling

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,226 Ratings  ·  210 Reviews
Martin Conway comes from a family filled with heroes and disgraces. His grandfather was a statesman who worked at the US Embassy in London during WWII. His father is an alcoholic who left his family. His sister is an overachieving Ivy League graduate. And Martin? Martin is stuck in between--floundering.

But during the summer after 7th grade, Martin meets a boy who will chan
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 2006)
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Annie Fox I'm very interested in time travel stories and World War II history. So, if you like either, I'd so... read London Calling.

Community Reviews

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Sep 16, 2010 Shannon rated it really liked it
My ten year old selected this from the library when another book by the same author wasn't available. I picked it up to read between chapters of a non-fiction book. Little did I know how much I would enjoy London Calling - it's very appropriate for younger readers, but contains a depth that kept me fully engaged.

London Calling follows young Martin Mehan through time to the blitz of London during WWII. While I love history from before the 20th century, I'm not at all well-versed in the history of
Feb 07, 2015 Nicole rated it it was amazing
The main message in London Calling, by Edward Bloor, is that one does not have powerful to help others or their community. London Calling begins in 2002 in Bethel New Jersey, about 20 miles north of Princeton. All Souls Preparatory School, a large campus with many buildings, is located in Bethel. This novel is told in first person through Martin Conway, a seventh grade student at All Souls Preparatory School. Martin despises going to school at All Souls, and he feels like an outcast. He is glad ...more
Jun 29, 2008 Michele rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young adult/adults
Wow! This is a great book. I picked it up at random at the library. The prologue grabbed me, then the next few chapters had me wondering what it had to do with the story. But the story rolled like a train gathering speed until you knew the destination and wondered how the protagonist was going to get there. On his way he took his whole family to a new destination and ... well, you'll have to read it yourself.

I would agree with the library that this is a teen/young adult novel, mostly because the
"London is calling", and I should have hung up. I only read the book to the end, so that I could review it completely. One star because Bloor wrote a book and the other star because I like his rather simplictic prose style. That's it. Johnny the teenage main character who lives in modern day New Jersey inherits an old fashioned World War II radio which mysteriously connects with the World War II London boy named Jimmy as Johnny time travels to the 1940's. Leaving his dysfuctional family behind J ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Wisteriouswoman rated it really liked it
Great book--nice piece of story telling. I liked Martin and wanted things to work out for him. The school situation sounded horrible. But the way the author wove historical facts into the story is one of the things that sets this book apart. I was truly drawn in by Martin's adventure into a past era where he connects with Jimmy.

I also liked the Catholic school setting and the fact that Martin's family is seriously into the religious experience. It is something I know so little about. I appreciat
Anja Manning
Apr 06, 2012 Anja Manning rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013
This book has such a wonderful title, an odd cover, and discusses a historical topic that is of particular interest to me - the London Blitz, or the Battle of Britain.

Unfortunately, this book was a complete disappointment. Mostly because it is so overtly religious and preachy, all the way through to the grand finale. As a non-Christian, I find this very hard to stomach. I didn't pick up this book to be converted to Catholicism.

There are other problems, too. The plot is somewhat fragmented, and t
Alex M
Sep 17, 2013 Alex M rated it it was amazing
Shelves: form-i-books
London Calling

For my September core book I read the book London Calling by Edward Bloor. I think the message that the book was trying to say that you need to be nice to others and help people in need. This book is about a protagonist named John Martin Conway who goes to All Souls Preparatory School. Martin sits in his basement and speaks to his Nana all summer long. He keeps telling his mom he won't go back to All Souls. His Nana dies and gives him a very old radio that's is special to Martin. O
Molly Leverenz
May 31, 2014 Molly Leverenz rated it it was amazing
Reader Response: I really did love this book. I can easily recommend this book to anyone and I think they will enjoy it. Most books I am a one time reader, but I would reread this book. It might have a bit of a sad ending but it is for the good of the book I think. I didn't expect this book to have a bit of a mystery part but it did. Martin has to find out what is real and not real and helps James and Martin's dad through tough times. Great Book.

Teacher Response: This book I think would be easy
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
For a book that had time-travel and London during the Blitz it was pretty meh. Not only that, but the narration was uninspired especially when the actor did female voices. Though I wouldn't attribute the meh-experience to narration, more the experience was not improved upon by it. I do like the history and time travel, but overall this book just felt middle of the road. I'd say if you're stuck for a library audiobook this will do but if you have better options, take them.

For this review and mor
This was an incredibly touching book of a boy who time travels to London during the Blitz, and in so doing changes his life and that of his father. I loved the writing, the characters, and the history.
May 22, 2016 Lori rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book from my friend at our yard sale. It's a compelling book of historical fiction, written in the voice of a 12-year-old with a very old soul. This is a particularly good book if you enjoy World War II history and time travel.
Mar 09, 2011 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"History repeats itself only in that, from afar, we all seem to lead exactly the same life. We are all born; we all spend time here on earth; we all die. But up close, we have each walked down our own separate paths. We have stood at our own lonely crossroads. We have touched the lives of others at crucial points, for better or for worse. In the end, each of us has lived a unique life story, astounding and complicated, a story that could never be repeated."

London Calling, P. 1

I have now read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 27, 2016 Martha rated it it was ok
Classics such as H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court have made time travel fiction a popular genre over the years. In London Calling, author Edward Bloor employs a Philco 20 Deluxe radio to transport 13-year-old Martin Conway from present-day New Jersey to 1940’s London.
Martin has plenty of reasons to leave home. His parents are divorced. His father is an alcoholic. His mother can barely make ends meet.
Jun 07, 2015 Jack rated it it was amazing
The book “London Calling” by Edward Bloor is about Martin Mehan, the protagonist of the book, who starts the story as a young teenager that is generally very self-centered and focused on the wrong things in his life, such as the bullies in his school and who in his school is rich. After receiving a mysterious radio from his grandmother, Martin is transported back in time to World War II and the London Blitz where he meets a boy named Jimmy Harker that needs his help. As Martin runs around the r ...more
I quite liked this one. Not as good as Tangerine, which blew me away, but still very good. It was a quick, but deep read.

I expected to spend more time in the past, but the time spent in London turned out to be a catalyst for the rest of the story rather than being a significant part of the story on its own. In the brief time we spent in the Blitz-ridden London, we come to know the people, but the historic setting is not described in great detail.

At its core the book is about history and heroes.
Aniket K
Jul 15, 2015 Aniket K rated it it was ok
Aniket Kumta
Form II English (Blue)

In the book, London Calling, by Edward Bloor, the main theme is one does not have to be powerful to help someone. The main character, Martin Conway, a thirteen year old boy hates his school, All Soul’s Preparatory School, in New Jersey, and is glad when school lets out in summer. Not only does he find the atmosphere in his school miserable, his situation at home is not much better. His alcoholic father has left the family and during summer, his beloved grandmoth
Nov 05, 2015 Ahmer rated it it was ok
Shelves: form-ii
London Calling, by Edward Bloor, is the story of a confused and moody middle schooler by the name of Martin Mehan, who is asked a simple question: will you help? When Martin’s grandmother sadly passes away, Martin meets an english boy named Jimmy, who helps Martin realize who he is, and who he wants to be. The main message of this book, is that no matter what situation one is in, one can rise out of it by setting goals and persevering. As Martin continues to go on journeys with Jimmy, it is show ...more
Sep 22, 2009 Nelson_h rated it liked it
Shelves: fall-2009
Edward Bloor’s London Calling a compelling science fiction history novel that pulled me in and never let go.

The theme of this book is a teenage boy finding himself. He learns to trust himself and realizes that his life is worth something after all.

The style of Bloor left nothing to be desired. Bloor gives a very real sense of where the book is set. I could almost hear the main character describing his adventures. The narrator is not unique in his way of presenting his story but the writing is
Alannah Davis
Jun 20, 2013 Alannah Davis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Loved it! John Martin Conway - known to one and all as Martin, the same name as his legendary war hero grandfather - hates the snobby rich-kid Catholic school that he is able to attend only because his mother works there as a secretary. His dad's an alcoholic who doesn't live with the family, and his mystical grandmother has just died - leaving him with an antique radio capable of initiating time travel.

Having had my own experience with an alcoholic father and a mystical grandmother, I related q
Jul 02, 2011 Liora rated it it was amazing
Martin Conway is a seventh grader who hates his school. He attends exclusive All Souls Prep on a scholarship because his mother works there as a secretary. There is a lot of ugly tension and history between the rich kids at All Souls and the scholarship kids. In the opening pages of the book, Martin gets into a fight with the great-grandson of the school's founder, Henry Lowery, on the last day of class. Over the summer, he becomes more and more withdrawn and depressed, and rarely emerges from h ...more
Sep 08, 2015 Callie added it
In the book London Calling, by Edward Bloor, Martin Conway is wasting his life away sitting in his room playing endless video games, until he inherits his grandparent's old Philco radio. Experiencing dreams can be a strange thing, Martin realizes this when he starts to mix dreams with reality. He is transported back to London during World War II where he meets a young boy named Jimmy. In one of his dreams, Jimmy asks Martin a simple question, " will you help?" Jimmy helps Martin to step up and d ...more
Michelle Brandstetter
Martin is a 7th grade student attending a private, Catholic school and he's just been struck across the face by the school's bully for sticking up for his friend. It's the last day before summer break, but the thought of ever returning is less desirable than a root canal. Martin's grandfather on his mother's side is a World War II hero, some kind of statesman or something. His grandfather on his dad's side fought in the war as well, but since his father is an alcoholic that left his family, no o ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for

LONDON CALLING opens with a fight at school between the rich boys and the scholarship boys. A stone hits one of the statues in the new walkway causing damage. The commotion from the fight catches the attention of the headmaster who decides that he will determine the punishment at the end of the summer vacation. Martin dreads going back for this meeting. He hates the school so much that he requests to have independent studies for the entire new scho
William E
Jun 22, 2014 William E rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
London Calling is about Martin Conway, a boy who is suspended from school because he broke a piece of marble being used for a statue of a famous World War Two general. He is assigned to do a personal project about British radios, as he inherited one from his grandmother. What he finds in his radio, however, is a forgotten story about a young boy who lived during the Blitz. What I find Bloor's message is that a person is only one thing until the entire story is told. For example, on pages 120-121 ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Feb 16, 2014 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-14
When I start to read a book, I usually weigh the volume in my hands, look at the back cover blurb, and flip through pages to the beginning. I'm reading them yet, just assessing the font size and word count. It kind of gives me a clue about what to expect.

With an audiobook, I do none of that.  I just copy it to the Ipod, navigate to Chapter 1 and press Start.

And thus began London Calling, by Edward Bloor...

and I still don't know how I could have been forewarned.   It was so unexpected and so unex
Oct 15, 2009 Vicki rated it really liked it
I thought this was really excellent, and I might reasonably credit this book as the one that got me to appreciate the joy of audio books. The story pulls you in so quickly, and makes you feel so strongly for the characters and their disappointments, but also their hope, when it does show up. Martin Conway is a 13 year old kid on a scholarship at an expensive Catholic school that he hates. His mother's sense of honor won't let him leave the school, and he's pretty depressed. He's also victimized ...more
Andrea Gordon
Mar 23, 2016 Andrea Gordon rated it really liked it
Martin Conway is having a miserable Grade 7 year at All Souls Preparatory School. As a scholarship student (his mother works in the office so tuition is free) he is bullied and ostracized by the snobbish 1Clegacy 1D students. Martin and his friends, fellow outcasts Pinak and Manetti, are the particular target of Hank Lowery, great grandson of General Hollerin 19 Hank Lowery. Martin has grown up hearing tales of the heroics of his grandfather, Martin Mehan and General Lowery during the London bli ...more
At first, I thought that this might be a thrilling ghost story. I mean, it involves the Blitz, a dead London boy asking for help through an old radio, and one of the most fascinating times in history - WWII. There are a lot of directions this story could have taken - and all of them interesting. And I am extremely sorry to say that the direction it settled on is anything but exciting, intriguing, or mysterious. A perfectly good era wasted. There is nothing sinister or even urgent about Jimmy's g ...more
Sep 19, 2015 Francoise rated it liked it
Bloor gives us a pleasant read about a slightly depressed but otherwise normal pre-teen who stays in his basement room with the radio his grandmother left him. The radio ends up taking him into the past, where he crosses paths with a young boy living through the Blitz. The mission he is given propels him to deliver a message to a WWII survivor in York.

Whether you believe in time travel or God or an afterlife doesn't really matter. You will believe that the kid grows up through his experiences.
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Edward (William) Bloor

Personal Information: Born October 12, 1950, in Trenton, NJ; son of Edward William and Mary (Cowley) Bloor; married Pamela Dixon (a teacher), August 4, 1984. Father to a daughter and a son. Education: Fordham University, B.A., 1973.

Career: Novelist and editor. English teacher in Florida public high schools, 1983-86; Harcourt Brace School Publishers, Orlando, FL, senior editor
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“Remember that, lad, if you never remember anything else. We all touch each other's lives, for better or for worse. So say the things you have to say to people while you still have the chance.” 14 likes
“History repeats itself only in that, from afar, we all seem to lead exactly the same life. We are all born; we all spend time here on earth; we all die. But up close, we have each walked down our own separate paths. We have stood at our own lonely crossroads. We have touched the lives of others at crucial points, for better or for worse. In the end, each of us has lived a unique life story, astounding and complicated, a story that could never be repeated.” 5 likes
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