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Winell Road

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Winell Road is the most boring street on Earth and 12-year-old Jack Mills is sick to his molars of living there. But when a UFO nearly abducts him outside his home, his life takes a terrifying and mysterious turn. With the help of his new friend and neighbour, frighteningly tall Roxy Fox, Jack discovers there's a lot more to Winell Road and his life than he'd ever imagined.

146 pages, Paperback

First published April 30, 2015

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About the author

Kate Foster

5 books486 followers
I'm a children's author writing about friends, family and dogs, represented by Chloe Davis at Darley Anderson.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
4,883 reviews54 followers
October 19, 2017
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A kid who lives on a deserted street in a nothing town is surprised when new people move in next door, and even more surprised when they have a good looking daughter who seems interested in him!

Mysterious things start to happen, and the two investigate finding far more than they thought they'd find.

Good stuff. There's a lot of suspense for such a light premise.
Profile Image for E.L. Wicker.
Author 6 books51 followers
May 31, 2015
Jack leads an ordinary life. He goes to school, plays football, and loves his alien cards. He lives at home with his mum and dad on Winell Road, a street filled with odd neighbors. Despite their oddities, so far in his life, everything has been normal…until a spots a strange ship hovering in his road. Before Jack knows it, he’s on a mission to save the world, joined by his new neighbor Roxy Fox.

Winell Road is a delightfully charming read. There’s madness, mayhem, mystery, adventure and great big dollop of humor. The plot is cleverly devised, with seemingly random things all weaving together to create a tight and fantastic climax.

The writing is flawless and engaging, and each chapter just makes you want to flick straight to the next. A fantastic read recommended for all ages. I would love to see a Winell Road two because I’m sure Jack and Roxy have many more adventures to come, all of which I’d love to read. Absolutely loved it.
Profile Image for James Weaver.
Author 12 books78 followers
May 5, 2015
An excellent read! Though written for the young adult, even this adult found the story engaging, and the characters quirky and quite enjoyable. The plot keeps you guessing and the author does a fantastic job of leaving you to wonder just what the heck is going on at Winell Road. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ana.
285 reviews24 followers
April 12, 2016

This is a book I am sure kids will enjoy very much. Our Jack is a perfectly normal young man who lives in a boring street and has boring parents. Then, out of the blue, aliens. What kid would not appreciate an escape from reality like that?
I, however, cannot say I enjoyed it much.

It felt formulaic to me, although I suppose that's to be expected of a children fantasy book. However, there were several things that I felt I was supposed to take at face value that made no sense to me.

For example, his parents. A father who creates useless inventions in the basement and a mother who only seems to garden and spy on neighbours... How the heck do these people pay the bills?

And then there was stuff that felt much too easy, like

Overall, the novel is fast paced and there's interesting stuff like aliens, a secret world, doors which access that secret world and whatnot. It just felt like a jumbled mess and the ending was beyond rushed.

As a novel, it did not quite do it for me. As a series of disconnected adventures, it could entertain. The writing is pleasing enough. I wish the story had been more cohesive and that the ending hadn't felt so flat.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Rachael.
Author 8 books422 followers
July 5, 2015
This is a fast paced middle grade sci-fi adventure story with loads of twists and turns! It's jam packed with entertaining and interesting characters, curious technology and crazy alien fun. Jack is visited one night by creatures from outer space and tasked with saving the world. He enlists the help of his unusual neighbor Roxy to complete his quest and things get a little wild. The story keeps you guessing from beginning to end making you wonder who to trust. TRUST NO ONE! 'Beneath The Surface' sets the stage for a lot more adventure on Winell Road.
Profile Image for Keith Willis.
Author 6 books59 followers
August 4, 2015
Twelve-year-old Jack Mills is bored. He lives on Winell Road, the most boring street imaginable, with his boring parents, Mum (nosy and a horrible cook) and Dad (an inventor of totally useless gadgets), and a collection of odd-ball yet boring neighbors.

He’s bored, that is, until the day the glowing, silvery spaceship shows up overhead. Jack manages to escape being abducted by the alien craft, but he soon comes to the realization that he’s the only one who has actually seen it. His close encounter turns even more bizarre when Jack finds himself involved in a desperate mission to recover a stolen piece of alien technology, with the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance.

Kate Foster’s WINELL ROAD—BENEATH THE SURFACE flawlessly combines fantastical science fiction, heart-pounding adventure, sinister mystery, and a large helping of humor. Foster has crafted a charming and inventive MG novel that will keep readers of all ages turning the pages as breathlessly as did I. I can’t reveal much of the story itself without dealing out major spoilers, so suffice it to say Foster’s characterizations are spot-on, her scenes both evocative and hair-raising, and her plot twists marvelously handled. For WINELL ROAD is ultimately a story of secrets, and Jack’s efforts to unravel them in order to save himself, his family, his new friend Roxy, and just possibly the galaxy from the clutches of a host of aliens who have descended on Winell Road, the most boring place in the known universe.

Jack is an engaging protagonist--clever, spunky, loyal, and determined, yet filled with all the self-doubts, foibles, and questions lurking in every twelve-year-old boy. In Jack, Kate Foster achieves a marvelous MG voice that impels the reader on to follow along on his quest to save the galaxy. And although the reader may think s/he see’s things that Jack doesn’t and guess the final plot twist, that twist will leave even the most jaded gasping in surprise and wanting more of Jack’s adventures.

WINELL ROAD—BENEATH THE SURFACE is an excellent first outing from Kate Foster. It ticked all my boxes nicely—voice, characterization and plotting--and I anticipate her next venture, hopefully back into the world of Jack and his friends, will be better still.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Peterson.
87 reviews6 followers
May 19, 2015
I have to admit--it's been a long time since I read any middle grade fiction, but when I was approached by the author about reviewing this book, I was pretty excited about it. Even though it isn't a genre I read a lot of, I do have a younger brother and it's fun to be able to read/review books that he might enjoy. So, Sam, this one's for you ;)
As you can tell from the description, Winell Road is sci-fi, and there's quite a lot of aliens, and action/adventure going on. The plot moves along at a nice clip and there's not really any time to ever get bored with it. Jack is a pretty funny kid, and so there's a good bit of humor as well. Some of the humor was definitely geared towards middle grade boys (in my opinion), but hello, that's the target demographic. It was age appropriate, but not so middle-grade that an older person couldn't enjoy it.
The tone of the book was pretty casual and sometimes the dialogue felt rushed to me, but I really think that's just because I haven't read middle grade fiction in so long. It's an interesting lane between children's picture books and YA fiction, marked by mixing great, motive stories and a slightly easier reading level, and I think this book definitely accomplished that. Exciting adventure story and motive plot, but at a younger reading level.

I would definitely recommend this for the crowd of adventuresome 9-12 year olds, and I'm actually going to personally recommend it to my own 9yo brother. If there's a kid in your life who likes adventure stories, and maybe even some aliens (and let's face it, what kid doesn't?) this is the perfect book to get them reading over the holiday weekend.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michelle Barry.
9 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2015
A fun and imaginative adventure perfect for the young reader. The sci-fi elements are rich and developed and ignite the imagination. This is a page turning, action packed tale filled with the perfect amount of suspense and action. A great read!
3 reviews2 followers
May 3, 2015
Very well constructed, Very good use of the English language, humour and excitement. let's hope there is a sequel, very enjoyable read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Koeur.
1,080 reviews21 followers
September 4, 2015
Publisher: Jet Black

Publishing Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780994318701

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.5

Publisher Description: Winell Road is the most boring street on Earth and 12 year old Jack Mills is sick to his molars of living there. But when a UFO nearly abducts him outside his home, his life takes a terrifying and mysterious turn. With the help of his new friend and neighbor, frighteningly tall Roxy Fox, Jack discovers there’s a lot more to Winell Road and his life than he’d ever imagined.

Review: A really good YA SciFi adventure novel with a “save the universe” theme commonly found in this genre. The author does a good job developing compelling characters and the scene descriptions are easily visualized. The pacing/movement is fast enough to keep you interested while advancing the characters personalities. This strains the boundaries of being a complete novel as it was fairly short yet hints at serialization.
36 reviews
January 7, 2016
Twelve-year-old Jack Mills lives in the most boring place in the world. At least that's what he thinks until he sees a spaceship hovering over his street. Strangely, no one else saw the UFO, so Jack is forced to keep silent or look crazy. When Jack ends up meeting his new neighbor wearing only his underwear, he's not getting any votes for his sanity. That night his room is invaded by three small aliens who need his help. Soon, Jack and his new neighbor Roxy are plunged into an underground world they thought only existed in science fiction movies.

Filled with imaginative characters and plenty of action, Winell Road-Beneath the Surface is a sure winner for experienced and reluctant readers. The ending assures excitement will continue in a sequel, but doesn't end with a cliff-hanger. Well done.
Profile Image for Christina Banach.
Author 1 book133 followers
September 12, 2015
I really loved Winell Road: Beneath The Surface – it’s such a fun read. Playful, imaginative, and thrilling, with that indefinable feel good factor that leaves you wanting more, this fast-paced adventure has everything that a middle-grade reader could wish for. That’s not to say that older readers wouldn’t enjoy this book too, for this ‘older reader’ surely did. And who couldn’t fail to be charmed by twelve-year-old Jack Mills, the main character? Brave, loyal, inquisitive and funny, his is a voice that will charm even the hardest of hearts. Supported by a cast of wacky and wonderful characters this inventive sci-fi romp had me hooked from the start. A highly recommended read for middle grade and above.

PS When’s the sequel, Ms Foster? I hope it’s soon!
Profile Image for Lyn.
14 reviews
July 21, 2016
Twelve-year-old Jack lives at 5 Winell Road, and to quote him, it probably has the world's weirdest neighbours For Jack it is a boring, embarrassing, dead-end place to live
One very enjoyable read! From the very first page, this book had me hooked. The characters are complex and keep delivering surprise after surprise.

The author has done a superb job with POV and it never wavers. The mystery and tension begins at page one, and continue until the end. Jack's new friend, Roxy, keeps you wondering, is she what she appears to be? What about Mum and Dad? Jack has always known they're a little strange, but nothing can prepare him for what will come.

This may be a book for middle graders, but any adult who enjoys SF will enjoy it. I'm almost 70 and I can't wait for book 2.
Profile Image for Ruby.
606 reviews49 followers
November 5, 2015
From boring to aliens in one night... that's what happens to 12 year old Jack. His parents are boring, his street is boring, and for once he really wished something would happen. When it finally does. Jack and his new friend Roxy learn a little more about their street than they might have wanted.

Aliens... for those who love aliens, this is a really good book. Meant for the middle school age, the plot is simple, but fast paced and the idea is filled with fun antics. I found the story to be fairly clean with a few frightening scenes, but nothing that most children are already exposed to. A very interesting and fun story....
Profile Image for Debra Brown.
30 reviews3 followers
July 25, 2015
I loved Winell Road so much, it's definitely one of the best books I've ever read. All the suspense and the mission was very mysterious, but there were some very funny parts too, like three Freogans getting their toes stuck in a plughole. My favourite part was at the end when the mystery was unravelled. Altogether it was an amazing book and I really hope Kate makes more.
- Dana Brown age 11. England.
Profile Image for Alicia Huxtable.
1,686 reviews56 followers
September 2, 2017
I didn't think I'd enjoy this book as much as I did. The twists and turns are certainly well concealed and the characters do their bouts so well. I can't wait fort my daughter to read it.
Profile Image for Mike Siedschlag.
388 reviews16 followers
April 5, 2018
I won a print copy of Winell Road by Kate Foster in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Winell Road is a middle grade book about life on a truly weird street.

Our young hero Jack lives on Winell Road, populated by more strange people than any road should. We see how his twelve year old mind processes this strangeness.

There are lots of twists and turns. People go from being friends to suspects and back again at a dizzying pace.As in any good middle grade story, Winell Road operates with the premise that Jack is the only person who sees and can resolve what is going on in his neighborhood. The "secret" of Winell Road is amazing in scope, and a fun mystery to be solved.

Winell Road by Kate Foster is a fun middle grade story for all ages. Enjoy!
Profile Image for Lynn Leitch.
20 reviews
September 21, 2017
A very fun read! I haven't read much in the way of Sci-Fi in the last ten years, but I'm so glad I picked this book up. A little bit Percy Jackson...a little bit Men in Black, Winell Road is a fast-paced adventure, filled with humour and the element of surprise. I didn't see the end coming and it's always fun to be surprised. Terrific middle grade book!
Profile Image for Kimberly.
Author 2 books105 followers
October 7, 2017
Winell Road is exactly my kind of middle grade science fiction. A fun, exciting story that you cannot put down. It includes aliens, a spaceship, adventure, mysterious neighbors, and amazing characters! I highly recommend it for all ages. I can't wait for the sequel.
Profile Image for Sarah Floyd.
Author 2 books7 followers
May 17, 2017
Loved this fun, well written story! A great book for both sci-fi and contemporary fans.
Profile Image for A.J. DeJong.
Author 1 book8 followers
August 15, 2017
What an adventure!

This book was so much fun to read! It was highly entertaining and I can't wait to see what new adventures await!
16 reviews
September 6, 2016
Winell Road Gets The Important Things Right

Winell Road is a charming story about Jack Mills, a twelve-year-old boy who is visited by aliens – aliens who are both friendly and at the same time threatening. They need his help locating the Vitax, believed to be located somewhere in his neighborhood – somewhere underground – and which is crucial to the continued existence of the galaxy (!). On penalty of death, he must find it for them.
Now those are some high stakes. It really doesn’t get any stakier than that. Now you may say, ‘Well, that doesn’t sound very believable, does it?’. To which I say, It’s not the author’s job to make it believable; it’s the author’s job to make you WANT to believe it and that she does. Now, throw in a mysterious and beguiling girl-next-door named Roxy Fox who just moved into the neighborhood, and I’m on board this train and just waiting to see where it’s heading. So then, good set-up. As the Bard said, “Well begun is half done.”
The next hurdle is making Jack believable and likable. We need to be on his side, and we very much are. He seems to have many admirable qualities, among which are bravery, ingenuity and a sense of honor. It appears that the author has borrowed the oldest trope in literature – the so-called “hero’s journey”, which predates Homer’s Odyssey – and adapted it to a contemporary sci-fi riff. Jack’s behavior patterns and manner of speech seem quite realistic – one could almost believe that the author has spent some time around pre-teen boys.
By the way, it appears as though the title is some sort of anagram, which is a bit of a clue as to what’s going on. I won’t reveal my guess, but the resolution of the anagram seems to produce two words, one of which has as its initial letter one which lies at the opposite end of the alphabet from that of the other.
The last hurdle which the author clears is setting up a series of obstacles for Jack to encounter and creating a sense of mystery about the entire situation. The desire to understand what’s behind all of this is what propels the reader forward to the end. The story was logical and easy to follow and held the reader’s attention.
I will contrast my experience reading this book to my experience watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) not too long ago. Although I stopped watching super-hero blockbuster movies quite some time ago due to their sameness and blandness, I was gulled into watching SW:TFA2015 because it was billed as superior and able to stand on its own without the viewer needing to know the preceding nine-movie saga. As someone who has watched perhaps 6-7,000 films, I think I know how to detect and track a coherent story line. With this movie, I couldn’t do it. Someone mentioned some sort of important goal a few times, but that declaration wasn’t woven into a coherent set-up and sense of stakes. I didn’t know what the story was about while I was actually watching it! I don’t know how a pre-teen could have detected one. And so I simply sat back and let the explosions and loud noises register while I waited for the interminable thing to end. That was a movie whose production costs were $250 million, and which brought in $2 billion in worldwide revenue, and yet the story was no more than an afterthought.
Why is a logical, well-thought-out story so important? Because without it it’s impossible to derive any meaning from the book or film. It can’t be done. You can’t watch SW:TFA2015 and say that you learned anything about how people look at the world, or what their values are. But you can do that after having read Winell Road. Any book that gives the reader that much is one that has inherent value, and is worth the time and money spent.

Profile Image for Heather Lawson.
Author 12 books21 followers
November 13, 2017
Originally posted here: https://heatherreviews.wordpress.com/...

I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of this book by the author and I’m so glad that she let me read it. I’ve not read a lot of stories about aliens, but I know that they can executed poorly and I was sincerely hoping that this wouldn’t be the case with Winell Road. I loved this book. It was full of adventure, aliens, and fun! It’s a whirlwind of a story that I found hard to put down.

Jack has lived on Winell Road for years and come to know his strange neighbours and their habits fairly well. When a new family moves into the street, Jack suddenly finds his boring summer turns into an exciting adventure to save the universe. But is everything as it really seems? Who is the mysterious woman who moved in along with her daughter? Are his neighbours more than a little strange… are they out of this world?

There’s so much to love about this book, but I think perhaps my favourite thing about it is Jack. He thinks that he’s the most boring kid there is and he has the most mundane street ever, and boy does he turn out to be wrong on both points! His yearning for adventure is something that most kids dream of, I think; to be part of something big and exciting. So when Jack discovers little aliens in his bedroom, who try to recruit him on a mission to save the universe, he’s not exactly going to turn that down, is he?

I must admit, this is a clever book. There’s a lot of nudges for the reader to point them in a certain direction and usually, I’m pretty good at working out what’s actually going on, but Foster has weaved an excellent tale that kept me intrigued and still guessing. Just when you think you’ve worked it all out, something pops up to let you know you’re completely wrong, leaving only the excitement of the reveal to come.

With the strange coincidences and the clues that leave Jack confused about who to trust, the reader is taken along for the ride as he battles against alien foes in his efforts to recover the missing item that keeps the universe in balance.

Exploring trust and friendship, Winell Road takes you on an adventure that is out of this world without leaving home.
Profile Image for Rebecca Carpenter.
Author 4 books25 followers
October 18, 2015
When Jack has a close encounter with a spaceship on Winell Road, the world as he knows it is flipped upside down and turned inside out.

Then the Freogans come. These small aliens convince Jack he must save them by locating their stolen Vitax, a power source that protects the alien’s galaxy. Jack’s astounded to learn the Vitax is hidden in a very-well guarded alien world that just happens to be located under his street.

Armed with alien cards and a code-breaker, Jack and his new friend, Roxy, accept the challenge and embark on a perilous adventure to retrieve the Vitax. But no one and nothing is as they seem in this exciting adventure full of aliens and danger around every corner.

Winell Road: Beneath the Surface, is an exciting and a fun read. The storyline will definitely hook MG readers with all the aliens and keep them on their toes until the end. There were a few words I wasn’t familiar with that slowed my reading and a few places that pulled me out of the MC’s head, but overall I enjoyed the story and feel of the book. I especially liked the fast-paced, adrenaline- pumping ending with a twist I didn’t expect. I hope the author is writing a sequel!
Profile Image for Kiran Acharya.
24 reviews9 followers
September 10, 2015
Winell Road is a riveting tale with a big dose of humour.

Jack thinks Winell road is the most boring locality, and his life is boring with a Capital B. This changes when he spots an alien spaceship spying on him,and nobody else sees it. Jack, and Roxy, his remarkably tall new neighbour, embark on the mission to save our galaxy.

Jack, and Roxy are a fabulous pair. The rest of the characters are a hoot.
The author, Kate Foster, has a voice which has captured the charm of a twelve-year-old. She has effortlessly woven many aliens with amazing capabilities in the plot.

Highly recommended for all those who love a well-written fantasy.

For a detailed review read Book Review: Winell Road

*Received a review copy via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.
Profile Image for Angela Sunde.
Author 2 books15 followers
May 24, 2016
Did you ever peek through your lounge room curtains as a kid and wonder about your new neighbours? Did they seem a little strange to you? Like, maybe they were aliens?
Well then, twelve-year-old Jack lives in a street just like yours, with nosy neighbours, strange arrivals and a mystery to be solved.
A fast-paced, page-turning read, perfectly suited to mid-grade readers and with a healthy balance of male/female protagonists, Winell Road is sure to ignite a passion for close-encounters-style sci-fi mysteries in young readers new to the genre.
The world building is spot on and easy to visualise, the plot engaging and believable. I particularly liked the character of Roxy, whose serious determination and courage is a delightful juxtaposition to Jack’s more wary nature and injections of humour. Between the two of them, Winell Road’s mysteries don’t stand a chance. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Laurie Bell.
Author 7 books25 followers
October 17, 2016
Aliens? Check.

Mysterious tech? Check.

Suspicious behavior? Check.

A road… What?

Winell Road by Kate Foster is a MG adventure that rips along at a cracking pace following Jack and his new friend Roxy as they uncover the strange happenings under their seemingly innocent road.

When the new neighbors move in Jack is surprised. His usually quiet road is changing, and not for the better. See… Aliens are real. Do you know how he knows? He’s met some. And now that he knows the truth, he starts to see strange behaviour in everyone around him – including his parents. He needs to investigate but that will get him into more trouble than he realizes! Get ready to jump in… better hold your nose.

This one is a fun read, full of action, excitement and lots of gross stuff. Kids of all ages will enjoy it (their parents too!)

I’m really looking forward to book two.
Profile Image for Kathy.
77 reviews
July 16, 2015
A solid sci-fi story where all those tantalising hooks get tied up thoroughly. The characters are quirky and make you very curious about what's going on with them and why. There are lots of exciting action scenes which make this an engaging read and has that rare quality of being simple language without being dumbed down. This is a difficult age and genre to write, yet Kate Foster has done an excellent job - the three stars compares it to other age groups and genres, but compared to its own, this is one of the best that I have read. This book, while being complete in itself, also hints at further adventures, which in this unique world should be seriously exciting.
20 reviews2 followers
September 24, 2015
This is a Men In Black for the middle school crowd. It's very fast-paced with a few "wait, what?" moments that will knock your underpants off.

Jack is an ordinary kid living an ordinary life with some ordinary, yet eccentric parents. But when the new neighbors move in, Jacks world is turned upside down and life on Winell Road is no longer what it seems.

The concept is genius, the plotting is amazing and you'll be waiting anxiously for Jack's next adventure.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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