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My boys (9 year old twins, Michael and John) and I stumbled upon Boomtown by happy accident at a regular trip to our local bookstore.  One of my boys, Michael, really likes to read, but John- not so much.  So I was looking through all of the books on the shelves to try to find something that would interest him and I picked up Boomtown, and started reading the dust jacket.  John's eyes got soooo big and he grabbed the book out of my hands, sat down in the middle of the aisle and started reading.  He was laughing so hard that his brother demanded to know what was so funny!  Since the store only the one copy, I decided to read the story to them at bedtime, because I was going to have a fight on my hands!  We read a chapter each night, and the boys (and I) loved the story!  Michael and John wanted me to buy them the second book in the series, but when I looked online, I found your store and the updated version of the original Boomtown.  The boys are excited to read the story again, from Jonny's point of view!  They have always wanted a book signed by the author, and since they both told me that Boomtown is their favorite book that they've ever read, I am so excited that you are willing to sign copies of your book for them to cherish forever!  Thank you for making reading so much fun for us!  John is actually looking forward to reading something (so whenever you get the second Boomtown done- we will be first in line for a copy!), and Michael has decided that he wants to be an author!  He has started a few stories of his own- and they are actually pretty good! :) Thanks again, SO much!
Amanda T., parent
April 2010

There’s a new book from Thomas Nelson Press that will provide some fun reading this summer. “Boomtown” by Nowen N. Particular (clearly a pseudonym) is Book One in the Boomtown Series ($16.99). It features Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory, a cheerful story full of mystery and adventure about a fictional town and all of its quirky residents – not to mention exploding elves and hen grenades. Boys in particular will enjoy this one because I don’t know of one that doesn’t love fireworks.”
Alan Caruba, Editor,
August 2008

Boomtown Explodes the Myth of Boring Books
First-time author Nowen N. Particular, was spurred to write by his desire to awaken a passion for reading, especially in boys. Boomtown, Book 1: Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory, to be published Sept. 9 by Thomas Nelson, aims to attract 9- to 14-year-olds with a quirky plot and the inclusion of more than 80 art pieces throughout the book, from vintage circus posters and old-style portraits to hand-drawn maps of Boomtown and curiosity-whetting Chinese fireworks images. Having previously written a number of children’s stories and curriculum for his own ministry uses, Nowen has also created an associate Web site for his debut novel, Amid the humorous tall tale of mystery and adventure in a fictional town, he has woven positive messages about trusting people, honesty and being a good neighbor. The book aims to counter what he said is a trend in youth literature toward negative attitudes and behaviors such as gossip, runaways, sorcery and inappropriate romance. “The book started with a joke between me and my daughter,” Nowen recalled. “I said if a chicken laid an egg that exploded, they’d call it a hen grenade.” Other incendiary ideas-what would happen if you put gunpowder in pancakes?—hatched, and Boomtown was born.
Christian Retailing Magazine
Aug. 25, 2008

Some Wacky Winners
Silliest Pseudonym: Nowen N. Particular, author of Boomtown: Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory.
Sally Lodge, Publishers Weekly
Sept. 21, 2008

Boomtown is the story of Pastor Arthur Button who moves to Boomtown to get out of the city and raise his children in a slower, safer environment. He finds Boomtown is not exactly what he expected when his daughter and son manage to blow up part of Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory on their first day in town. Then Arthur Button learns that he’s joining a long line of pastors who have tried to lead the little church — until their astonishing demise or disappearance. Throughout the book, Arthur Button is nearly blown up, shot, and smashed by a variety of unusual accidents. Everything in Boomtown is unusual and, as the pastor lives through his wild encounters, he learns more about being a good pastor, a good friend, and a good father. With the very adult perspective and focus, I had a little trouble seeing why Boomtown was classified as a children’s book, unless it’s because of the absurdity of the many catastrophic events — and of course, the cute choice of author name in Nowen N. Particular. There are amusing moments and pleasant warmth in the Boomtown residents.
Jan Fields, Editor of Kid Magazine Writers emagazine
Reviewed 2008 for

A Good Fiction Title for Preteens
As a parent of a 7th grade boy, I know how hard it is to find good fiction titles for preteens - especially ones that they will read! That’s why I was very excited about the new preteen fiction title out from Thomas Nelson. It’s called “Boomtown: Changs Fireworks Factory” by Nowen N. Particular. Boomtown is a fictional town that is home to Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory, the Slush Olympics, the “Fighting Slugs” football team, rocket reindeer, and flying barber chairs. It is exceptionally well written and has kept my son laughing out loud for days. There is even a great website about the book and it’s anonymous author at However, stay away from the chickens! If you are looking for a good fiction title for preteens, especially boys, Boomtown would be a great choice.
Posted by Bryan,
September 11, 2008

“I almost died today,” it began. And it almost did. After a painfully slow start in which I wondered how this adult was going to read the whole book, much less a child for whom it was written, when all of a sudden (like a bottle rocket) it took off on page fifteen and continued the pace for 320 pages. Now my grandchildren want to read it. Rev. Button (Cute name!) is moving his family--wife, and three children ages 10, 13, and 16--from California to a quiet town (he thinks) in Washington to spare them all the scariness of big city life. But what he soon faces proves scarier still: most of his predecessors at the Boomtown church have died in fluke accidents. And while the wacky things that occur almost daily seem to turn out for the best for his family, almost losing his life--many times over--does not endear him to this booming town where everybody’s favorite thing to do is blow stuff up. Not surprising, since Boomtown revolves around Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory. No overt spiritual content, but plenty of brotherly love, ethnic diversity, and downright neighborliness, with tons of action and humor sprinkled in for good measure. It turned out to be a fun read for this grandma, so I’d recommend it for children of all ages.
Reviewer Elisabeth H. Bantz

I enjoyed {Boomtown} very much. I love the story - sounds like my kind of place. I only found two [spelling] errors so I was very pleased; although, I was disappointed that the Button family left Boomtown at the end. I’m wondering how the story will continue. I can hardly wait for the second book in the series to come out!
Joanne Babic, English Teacher

Through a friend’s generosity, I became the owner of Boomtown. It may not be the best novel I’ve ever read. But it must be the second best, as demonstrated by the fact that while I read it through in two days there’s only one book I’ve read in less time, namely the currently popular “The Shack” (I read it in one day). So Boomtown must be in second place. Not bad, considering that even at my advanced age I read quite a bit. I’ll pass the book on to one of my mid-teens grandsons who is a great reader and will appreciate each character, male and female, young and old. In any event, God bless you for what you’ve written and for whatever fiction may now be aging in the cool cellars at the back of your brain.
Hank DeRooy

Excellent book for reading to 6th graders!
I have just started reading this book to my sixth grade. They have latched on since the introduction. Only two chapters in and they are bent over in laughter. I look forward to the adventure and hope to see a book two in the near future.
Kevin G. Lamontagne (Colorado)
November 6, 2008

i think you should wright a nother boomtown im reading boomtown 1 now and i love it.
Austin Owens (age unknown)
Nov. 14, 2008

BOOMTOWN is where you want to live
What would it be like to move to a new town where the hostess of the welcome wagon greets you with a deluxe 150 pound box of Chang’s famous fireworks? My 7 year old son and I just finished reading “Boomtown” and we are ready to move there. What kid (or parent) wouldn’t want to live in a town where the people add fireworks and fun to every holiday? So in the spirit of celebrating the wonderful imagination that Boomtown inspires, I can tell you that Nowen N. Particular’s book soars like a bottle rocket with mysterious turns, explodes with bigger than life characters that get into crazy situations and shines like a fountain of colorful sparks that celebrate being good, trusting your family, and caring for people that are not like you. In Boomtown, a family moves from the craziness of life in California to a small town in Eastern Washington. Yes, there are white picket fences, a good old fashioned soda shop and a town sheriff that is kind. These are all of the things we expect to find in a rural Washington town in 1949. And yet, you wouldn’t expect to find an ethnically diverse town where people work and play together as a community of equals. The mayor is a Japanese American war hero. The barber/butcher is Russian and Eskimo. The healthy economy of Boomtown is indebted to a Chinese explosives expert that helped build railroads and then built a famous fireworks factory. In Boomtown an ex-African slave is the town’s most famous inventor. And, the Native American Hopontop Indians are among the most educated and wise people in the county. In Boomtown people are not judged by the color of their skin, the prestige of their occupation, or their level of wealth or education. The citizens of Boomtown have created a great sense of belonging with one another in spite of their diversity. Like I said earlier. . . I’m ready to move there. Another thing you would expect to find in a place like Boomtown is the dedication of townspeople towards their local High School football team. And yet, you might be surprised by the faithfulness of the fans as their good ole Stickville Slugs endure a 40 year history of getting slaughtered by every opponent. This was one of my son’s favorite chapters as an “Act of God” helps the Slugs have a fighting chance of actually winning a game. I recommend this book to anyone that likes adventure, inventions, and chickens that lay exploding eggs. Nowen’s book challenged me and my son to express love and mercy to people that can be odd, different and difficult. We also learned that in a parent and child relationship we should trust one another and tell each other the truth. This is the kind of book that I love reading with my son. This novel is wholesome and it paints a picture of the kind of community that I not only want to live in. . . I want to help create it. At the end of “Boomtown” my son’s immediate comment was, “Dad, this is only book one! I can’t wait for book two! BTW - We also loved all the photos, drawings, maps and pictures that are sprinkled in every chapter. My son and I have also clicked around - he loved releasing the chickens and exploding their eggs!”
Shane Taylor (Seattle, WA)
November 1, 2008

Especially recommended for ‘tween’ aged young readers
Searching for a book that will ignite the interest of intermediate level readers -- particularly boys? “Boomtown Book One” is a very highly imaginative, entertaining, and reader engaging novel by author Nowen N. Particular which brings to life ‘Boomtown’, a quirky place that is home of Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory, a series of robberies and lots of strange neighbors whose favorite past time is blowing things up! Enhanced with the inclusion of more than 85 drawings and maps throughout its pages, “Boomtown” will keep the kids reading with great enthusiasm from first page to last.
Beneath all the explosions, “Boomtown” also explores the central question of what a health community looks like as the main characters struggle to trust their neighbors. Delightfully funny, visually stimulating, deftly written, “Boomtown” is especially recommended for ‘tween’ aged young readers. With a free teacher’s guide, as well as additional information on the author, “Boomtown” would make a popular addition to any school or community library fiction collection.
Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)
November 16, 2008

A Great Book for All Ages
My husband and I read Boomtown and LOVED it. We then decided to read it to our kids (9 & 7) and they LOVED it too! We like Boomtown so much, we’re giving it as gifts! Boomtown is just a good book that is fun, funny, creative, imaginative, interesting, full of adventure and a mystery too! The many photos, drawings, & maps are humerous and inspiring. Imagine a town full of interesting, diverse and accepting people who are invested in their town and each other. A place where education is paramount, but may not always be achieved in “conventional” ways. A place where every celebration has fireworks and the local museum is full of so many smart, unusual and creative inventions that it should be a book all in itself! There’s so much to consider as a “favorite part” in Boomtown and one of my son’s was the exploding door mat; he laughed about that for days. My daughter particularly enjoyed the Hopontop act as well as some of the inventions. We highly recommend Boomtown. We’re waiting for Book 2!! Be sure to check out the website - it’s just as creative as the book and is interactive as well!
J. Jordan (Seattle, WA.)
November 20, 2008

I just want to tell you how wonderful your book is. My 6 year old son and I have been reading it ever since my friend picked up a copy and had you sign it at the Borders in Federal Way, WA back in October. My son, Jimmy, is learning to read in first grade, and every night we read a chapter from your book. He’s been reading the words to me and just can’t wait until bedtime to find out what happens next. You have crafted a wonderful story, and we just love the characters and the setting. My son just joined 4-H in our area here (Buckley, WA) and will be raising chickens, so naturally Boomtown and the exploding chicken eggs caught his attention. Along with Jimmy and I, my 8 yr old nephew, Jack, also received a signed copy. He is also in 4-H and has chickens and loves your book. In fact, one of my older sons, who is 23yrs old and has a 7yr old daughter, Tori, is also anxious to read the book based on what he’s seen so far with Jimmy and Jack. It’s catching on. I wondered if I could purchase a copy of the book from you via online, and have you sign it to my granddaughter and one for my niece and nephew in Oregon? They are 9 (Aubrey) and (Colman) 12 yrs of age. My granddaughter is very sad that she didn’t get a copy of the book signed by you when Jimmy and Jack received theirs. She’s also in 4_H for chickens and at first I didn’t think she would be as caught up in the book as the boys, but I was strongly corrected by her. You mentioned that your target audience was boys 9yrs and up, but I think the girls and adults are equally excited about the book and can’t wait for the next one. By the way, when will the next book be coming out?
Sincerely, a very pleased reader,
Judi Dodson and son Jimmy
Nov. 28, 2008

My favorite part of the book was the BOOMTOWN MUSEAM. My favorite character was Sarah because she always messed everything up. When we were reading the book (in our 6th grade English class), the class always expected her to do something hilariosly wrong!
Madelyn Smith, 6th grade
December 7, 2008

Boomtown is an exciting blend of twists and turns, that should keep even the most reluctant reader interested. You never know what to expect as you turn the page! One of my favorite features of this book is the unique and interesting black and white photos that are peppered throughout. Chang, proprietor of Chang’s Famous Fireworks, quickly puts Boomtown on the map with his witty and often disastrous inventions. I laughed out loud at the “Ding Dong So Long” exploding welcome mat, designed to get rid of pesky salesmen. From exploding chickens, relocated (flying) gophers and bee blaster kits to dandruff shampoo you’ll only need once, Nowen N. Particular hits your funny bone over and over again with this delightful read. I enjoyed the wide variety of colorful characters who accompany Pastor Button and his family on their wacky adventure. Pastor Button, the 25th pastor assigned to Boomtown, discovers that the 24 pastors before him have all mysteriously disappeared! The Button family encounters all kinds of sticky situations as they navigate their way around Boomtown. This story bears a slight style resemblance to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with all of its wacky inventions, surprises and tongue in cheek humor. Fans of Charlie should enjoy this first book in the Boomtown Series.”
Cafe Lily Book Reviews,
Dec. 8, 2008

Boomtown is a Blast!
Boomtown, Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory (Book One) is a truly delightful read! You will be hooked after reading the first page. The author does a wonderful job of transporting us to a small town set in the late 1940’s. After reading this book, I wished there was still a place like this in which to raise a family. My 11 year old son read the book and could not put it down. He says, “Boomtown is an exciting book that will enthrall readers of all ages. I know I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much I could hardly put the book down, even during school, the teacher had to threaten me with detention and an “academic study skills period” because I was reading my book so much. This book is one of the best books I have read.” That says a lot from a young man who reads 5-10 books each week. The narrative descriptions are magical and will thrill readers of all ages. The characters are rich and engaging even though the story takes place more than 50 years in the past. The jacket cover and the author’s pen name, Nowen N. Particular, will have you smiling before you even open the book. At several places in this delightful tale, I found myself laughing out loud. Books like this that catapult one’s imagination and plant a seed of hope that things can be better are not published very often. We highly recommend this book and cannot wait for the next one in the series!
Valerie A. Nelson, Book Nook (
Dec. 9, 2008

A church, with a history of pastors who don’t “make” it, a new pastor and his family, and mysterious disappearing objects, all the setting and beginning of a wonderfully entertaining story. I read this book in one sitting with tears streaming down my face, from laughing so hard. My imagination was stretched as the author described marvels I would have never thought of. A mansion turned museum with switches that did all sorts of amazing thing using steam. A town where every celebration somehow involved fireworks. A miraculous healing (of sorts) due to a gerbil. A football team famous for loosing games for forty long years. Floods, long winters, Spring Fever Festivals, parades, an Indian tribe that performs in a famous circus, interspersed with the most interesting characters you will in any town, will capture and hold your attention. Combine all these things (and more) and then add in a bit of mystery with things disappearing, and mounds of dirt appearing and a rarely glimpsed stranger and you have the perfect setting for a book that is wonderfully written and illustrated by Nowen N. Particular. This story does not have a dull moment in it. Your imagination will stretch and grow as you picture all the many wonders described in this book. You will laugh as unfortunate incidents turn into comedic moments, and chuckle at a pastor who stays is desperate to not follow in the footsteps of his previous 24 predecessors. You also will be amazed by a story of family love and devotion. This reviewer gives this book a 5 star rating, along with a standing round of applause for a story that is well written and very entertaining. 323 pages.
Cindy Loven,
Dec. 5, 2008

Boomtown is probably one of the most cleverly entertaining books I have ever read!! The author’s name alone should give you a hint that things are going to be fun and unexpected. This entire book is filled with adventure, chaos and just plain old fashioned fun! It is a town you will want to visit and delight in! I know I did! The story is told from the point of view of the father of the Button family. Mr. Button is the new pastor of the Boomtown church, and his life begins a rather exciting and sometimes nerve wracking series of changes from the moment he arrives! Actually, he doesn’t quite make it to town before things get a bit explosive! What the Button family discovers in Boomtown is a town filled with people who love unconditionally and truly exhibit friendship and support as every town should. Now Boomtown is probably one of the quirkiest places on earth! You will laugh out loud at people’s names (the sheriff is Burton Ernie for pete’s sake!), the description of some of the characters is side-splitting, and the town museum is the most fabulous place on earth!! Mr. Nowen N. Particular doesn’t just stop at creating a delightful setting for his odd cast of characters though. He gently shows the Button family that fear is often a tool the enemy uses to keep us from enjoying life and all of its unexpected twists and turns. By the end of the story, Reverend Button and all of his family have learned a great deal from the people of Boomtown, and the reader is left feeling very satisfied! Go ahead! Visit Boomtown! You are sure to be delighted!!”
Dec. 3, 2008

Quirky, but good!
I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the first chapter of this book and, honestly, by the end of its’ over 300 pages (though a quick read) I still wasn’t quite sure what to expect! The pages are full of quirky characters & scenarios that are half-realistic and half-creative fantasy, that I think would appeal especially to middle-school age boys, although others can appreciate it as well. I’m sharing my copy with my Dad, as well as my fourth-grade teacher sister, and I think they will both appreciate the humor as well as real-life lessons that are strategically thrown in. The black & white pictures/illustrations thrown in throughout the pages are a nice touch also. The negatives I have about the book is that while a good bit of accurate history is thrown in throughout the book about different cultures (the gold rush, Chinese, Native Americans, etc. for example), there is also a good bit of stuff “made up” about these same historical events (the Native Americans, for example, are circus performers) that might confuse young learners who don’t have a firm enough grasp on history to sort the fact from fiction. Also, the descriptions seemed a bit long and the plot a bit short at times to me, but not overly so. Overall a great read, definitely unique, and one that will appeal to young boys best I think.
R. Smith “New Mom!”,
December 2, 2008

Five Stars!
My class is reading this book and we are about 6 chapters in and it is hillarias i like the part with the old lady and whiskers.
Jonathin, reviewed on
November 14, 2008

Wonderful Family Book
I am reading the book called Boomtown. the authors name is Nowen n, Particular. What a catchy writers name. The authors name sort of tells you how the book is written. I loved this book, it made me laugh out loud. I kept telling my hubby, listen to this you gotta hear it. It is full of humor and innocent charm of a small town. It reminded me of books as a preteen I would read. I am an adult woman almost 50 and I love this book. I chose this book to review because of the title and the illustration on the cover and I am so glad that I did. It is about a family whose father is a pastor. They move from California to settle in Boomstown, on their arrival to the city, the major factory in town which makes fireworks was testing out a new firework. The two youngest children snuck out of the car and mischeviously flipped a switch and caused a huge commotion, it was hilarious. There are so many different stories in this one book, some telling humerous stoires of his role as the pastor in the church to telling of how the towns football team got its name to how the Slugs which is the name of the schools football team has never won a football game, until the night of heavy rains and brought the slugs out of the ground, I dare not continue. But, if you are looking for a easy read and humerous this is the book. With all of the news we hear and the stress we are all feeling this book is perfect to remind you of simpliar times and have a good laugh while your at it.
Patty Ann, reviewed on
December 18, 2008

Perhaps I am dating myself, having just had a birthday and all, but does anyone recall Northern Exposure? Big time doctor moves to small town Alaska and learns important life lessons from an odd but loveable cast of characters. Well, replace the doctor with pastor and Alaska with Washington and you have Boomtown. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book; it was an easy read, funny, with wonderful characters. Just like in Northern Exposure, the pastor stumbles from lesson to lesson: love thy neighbor, faith, joy, giving, self-reliance. The very things he should be ministering, he learns from his flock.
Holly Dong, reviewed on
Dec. 17, 2008

Boomtown is a Blast!
Boomtown is not a book I would normally read. It’s fiction designed for younger teens, and given the fact that I’m not a younger teen and don’t read a lot of fiction, it didn’t sound like a good match. I was wrong. Nowen N. Particular tells the tale of Reverend Arthur Button and his family as they move from California to a small rural town in north central Washington state. What they find there is nothing like they’ve ever experienced. Fireworks, festivals, circuses, strange robberies, football, intrigue, and colorful history are all part of the story. Having pastored in a small rural town, I resonated with many of the author’s depictions. While Boomtown (the town) is obviously exaggerated, there is quite a bit of truth that lies behind it. Friendly people, interesting characters, unique local flavor and traditions, as well as provincialism, gossip, the prospect of being an “outsider,” and everyone knowing your business are all present. Lessons (”morals” if you will) are scattered throughout the book which are logically drawn from the stories, not forced upon them which is refreshing. Boys will like this book, especially those who like to blow things up. Girls will find plenty to enjoy, too. Adults - even those like me who normally read systematic theology - will enjoy it, too. Better yet, read it together.
Larry Snyder, reveiwed on
Dec. 17, 2008

Don’t wait to see the movie - Altho it would be good
My third book for review for Thomas Nelson Publishers was a juvenile piece of fiction called Boomtown. Author Nowen N. Particular has done a bang-up job of drawing a smile to the reader’s face telling tales of the citizens of Boomtown, Washington, USA. The folks of Boomtown include everything from fireworks to Hen-Grenades and Rocket Reindeer at every event and celebration. You never know what will blast the town into a new day. I did find the sub-plot, a mystery, is a bit vague during most of the story. Also, one character’s participation in the mysterious events could have been developed a bit more, maybe to let the reader in on a bit of the secret. I appreciate the author using a vocabulary above children level. Always appreciate the opportunity to expand kids’ vocabs. Examples? Hortaculture, canopy, stoic, plundering marauders. See what I mean? I can just see Adam Chandler as the pastor who is, I suppose, the main character of the story. I think it would make a good comedy. A Laurel and Hardy kind of film for the new millenium.
CJR Reader/Writer, reviewed on
December 21, 2008

Boomtown - Yes and No
Boomtown turned out to be a place where everybody’s favorite thing to do was to blow stuff up. ...They valued education more than money, worked hard, stayed married, loved their children, cared for the environment, and honored the heritage of other cultures. You may ask, `How is that possible?’ I see your point. A place like that can’t be real. But it should be.” - From the “Introduction” by Nowen N. Particular. Boomtown, by the mysterious Nowen N. Particular, takes place in the fictional town of Boomtown, Washington in the 1940’s. The story is told by the Reverend Button, newly arrived with his family to minister over the Boomtown Church. After arriving, he discovers two things that upset his composure: first, that the people of Boomtown are one and all eccentrics who love blowing things up; second, that all the previous ministers of Boomtown Church (some twenty four of them) died in bizarre accidents after only a year or two of ministering. The story is almost an ensemble piece, focusing chapter-to-chapter on the individual stories of the inhabitants of Boomtown. We hear the story of Chang, the town’s founder and creator of the fireworks factory that gave the town its name; Walt, the Butcher turned Barber; Mabel, proprietress of the eponymous Mabel’s Diner (“Terrible Coffee, Worse Service”); and the Hopontop Indians. Right off the bat, I would like to say that I essentially enjoyed reading this book. However, I did find myself wondering if it would really hold the attention of the “tween” audience that it is apparently aimed at. Yes, it is colorful and cartoony and has lots of crazy happenstances. All well and good.
But the story is told by the father. Typically, a book of this type would be from the perspective of one of his children - and, indeed, they had more adventures than he did although (as promised) his life was endangered on several occasions. I mean, I did enjoy the book - but I can’t help but wonder if I would have enjoyed it just as much at age 10, or if I would have gotten impatient with the adult main character and wanted to see things from the kids’ viewpoints instead. Even though many things that happened in the book were intentionally very outlandish, I couldn’t escape the feeling that this was a grownup telling a story to another grownup. I don’t have any kids available to question and see if that approach works or doesn’t work, so I’ll just have to leave this issue open-ended. But, what if the book Peter Pan was told entirely from the perspective of the Darling parents? It would have been a rather sad, colorless story, to say the least.
The author stated in the introduction (quoted above) that he was “surprised” by the “ethnic variety” in the town. Okay, I get that this is supposed to be a Utopia of sorts; the author’s idea of the ideal town where everybody respects everybody else. But I’m also reminded of a warning on the beginning of the recently released Vol. 1 of Fleischer’s utterly wonderful Popeye cartoons: “The animated shorts you are about to see are a product of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic, sexist and racial stereotypes that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.... (But) these animated shorts are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.” Emphasis on the final line. Yes, the author did mention something to the effect that some people had some issues with a mixed-race child who becomes involved in the story. Yes, the author did take pains to explain how the town had a Japanese mayor just a couple years after the end of WWII, when most Japanese Americans were still viewed with suspicion across the USA. Yet, I see the main character casually accepting things like the fact that the area has a female, Hispanic circuit court judge (unusual for a small rural town even in this day and age) without any question whatsoever (despite the fact this is supposed to take place in the 1940’s) to be pushing it just a bit. Yes, I know this is essentially a cartoon world, but I think it could have borne a few more comments that this was very unusual in that time and place. However, perhaps the biggest problem I had with this book was the ending - and I will try to explain my problem without ruining it for any potential readers. The book spent a lot of time getting us used to a certain set of characters (the amusing cover announces that this is “Book One” so I’m assuming that more are planned) - and yet, this set of characters simply ditches the town at the end. I found that rather disconcerting as well as going against a lot of what they’d been setting up in the book... it was like all the lessons that had been learned about acceptance were simply discarded. I’m assuming that the next book would simply have to deal with a wholly different set of characters, which I would find even more disconcerting. I liked these characters - I wanted to spend more time with them. And I would also like to point out that despite this book being told by a minister (and being published by a Christian publishing company) I thought the religious message, if there was one, was a touch on the covert side. Perhaps the author was aiming at that to avoid “preaching” to the kids... but, really, if I’m buying a book from a religious publishing company, I kind of expect there to be a clear-cut religious theme...I’m afraid this is going to be a half-and-half sort of review...because I essentially enjoyed reading it. I thought Boomtown sounded like a nice place to live in spite of the fact that it had no Catholics. I was entertained by most of the colorful characters - and wouldn’t want to live in an idyllic small town where everybody loves everybody else and enjoys setting off fireworks? But, as I said, I had issues with both story elements and fact that we are getting everything from the perspective of the stodgy father character (which as an adult I had no problem with - but which as a kid, whom this story was ostensibly aimed at, I might have been bored). So what is my final word? As I originally stated, I essentially enjoyed reading this book. I would recommend it to other adults who are looking for light, colorful reading and enjoy escapism - but I don’t think I can whole-heartedly recommend it for kids.
J. Hall, reviewed on
Dec. 21, 2008

To Nowen N. Particular,
I am writing to you because I have finished reading Boomtown. I received the book from calling into the radio show on KVI am570 on December 7th, 2008 (my sister’s 7th birthday). I really like Boomtown, in fact I love it. My favorite part is that Arthur Button almost always gets killed (oh, by the way, I read the introduction). The museum is also pretty cool. I really like the levers in all the rooms – I wish I could live there, or in Boomtown. My favorite characters are Johnny and Sarah because they always get in trouble – especially Sarah. I usually laughed about all the trouble they got in and the things they did. I really like the hen grenades and the names of the streets. My favorite street name is “Run-for-Your-Life road”. The map was really cool, I kept checking it while I was reading to find out exactly where the streets were. I also really liked what the people in Boomtown thought about what Xian did. They were really nice to him even though he did a crime. I really liked the comments during the trial from the people in Boomtown – especially Grandma Edna.
It was very weird that the Indians had a circus and I wonder how they survived the flaming dive of death. I like everything about the book. I wish I could read the whole history of Boomtown because it was so funny and interesting.
Since it says Book 1 on the cover, how many books are there? I wonder if the family of Arthur Button is going to go back to Boomtown. Thanks for the book!
Carolyn Hanly, 12 years old
“Winner” of a signed copy of Boomtown
Call in radio program, KVI 570AM
Sent Jan. 2, 2009 via email

From Jack, someone in particular, a fan more specifically
My name is Jack and I am a third grader here in Buckley, WA. I am reading your book with my Mom and I want you to know it’s one of the best books I have ever read. I love Boomtown so much I want you to create the place here so I can really visit it. I want to drive the marshmellow cars and try the levers in the museum. I want to be an inventor and having a museum like that would give me all sorts of great ideas for inventions. I want to create a tent village and giant monopoly game in my yard and my mom said yes. Thanks for writing your book and sharing it with us. One question, where did you come up with your idea for the baseball bazooka? You should invent real things!
Jack Rusher, 3rd Grade
Sent Jan. 4, 2008 via email

Boomtown tells the story of Reverend Arthur Button and his family as they settle into life in Boomtown, Washington. A life that Rev. Button was NOT prepared for! But one he’s determined to keep after hearing that all 24 of his predecessors at Boomtown Church have died in bizarre mishaps.I read this book aloud with my 5 year old son expecting lots or word play, puns, adventures and wacky characters. Our expectations were not disappointed. Only in Boomtown will you find a sheriff named Burton Ernie, fireworks at every holiday, and townspeople filled with grace and forgiveness.
My son has thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Rev. Button and his family. I think boys of all ages, especially tweens, will enjoy the fun spirit of Boomtown’s residents. [Spoiler Alert] Before handing this book to your tween son you should be aware that one chapter deals with a baby, born to young unmarried parents, who is left on the Buttons’ doorstep. I was unprepared for this subplot in a book about exploding hen grenades and rocket Santas. The author handles the topic with grace but the resulting conversation I had with my son about adoption was not one I had expected when I started the book. Also, the baby’s parents are of different races (in a book set in 1950 when such a thing was a big deal) which went unnoticed by my five year old but could raise questions with a tween. Overall Boomtown is a fun and interesting story best read as a family with an awareness of potential for deeper parent-child discussions.
Posted on Stephanie’s Mommy Brain
Dec. 28, 2008

Boomtown: Chang’s Famous Fireworks, set around 1950, is a story about…well, several things actually, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing. The book begins with Reverend Arthur Button and his family moving to Boomtown from California in order to have a quieter, more peaceful life. But that backfires (pun intended) when he learns that Boomtown is the most explosive city around. Besides the town’s affinity for fireworks, every pastor in the 70 year history of Arthur’s church has had to be replaced because each one has met an untimely death. That danger is contrasted by the fact that when it comes to caring about people, Boomtown is the safest place to be. When Rev Button questions the apparent quirkiness of everyone in this town, he is told that people don’t give up on each other “just because it’s hard.” I have to admit, the biggest problem I had with the book is it’s just trying to do so much. Kids will enjoy the antics of the townspeople and the various ways things go “boom”! But they won’t understand the abandonment of an infant or the internal battle that haunts the reverend. The town has an “in your face” kind of feel, and yet there is a silent mystery waiting to be revealed. It’s an incredible blend of fantasy and hard reality. I do think it’s worth reading, but I think it would be best read as a family. A lot of stuff happens in Boomtown, silly and serious, which can be the start of some great conversations. I can’t help but think this Bible Study Guide could spark some meaningful dialogue. Multiple scriptures are referenced in the chapter questions. Without a doubt, the highlight of the book for me was chapters 9 & 10, when the Buttons visit the Boomtown Museum. Any child would dream of going to a museum where the floors come to you! I would love to see these inventions on the big screen! To sum up, there will be things you love and things you hate, but in my mind that’s what makes a great story. These characters cannot be placed into a neat, little box...they are frustrating at times, wonderfully so. Does it end how I wanted it to? No, the ending is far too real. But what makes Boomtown (the book) special is the hope that a place like Boomtown (the city) really can exist.
Dec. 22, 2008

I have to admit that I’d never heard of this book before I found it online. I read the description and thought it sounded like something good that I would like to read and than could share it with my 9 year-old nephew. He loves to read and this sounded like his kind of thing. It’s a really fun book. Boomtown - Book One, Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory (stay away from the chickens) by Nowen N. Particular is first of all, quite a mouthful. And at 323 pages for a young adult read, it’s quite a handful. But it’s a good handful. Inside the front and back covers are maps of Boomtown and throughout the book and many old style black and white photos, line drawings and diagrams.They add an extra fun element and sense of authenticity to the story. The story is told by Reverend Arthur Button who decided to move his family of five from the city in California to a small rural town in Washington in 1949. He accepted the job of pastor to enjoy the quiet life with friendly neighbors, a house with a yard and snow at Christmas. They found friendly but it was anything but quiet there. Their new home was also the location of a famous firework’s factory. Fortunately the people who lived there loved to blow stuff up. And the Buttons became famous for blowing something up before they even reached their new house.
An unexpected stop on the way into town led to a “small” explosion at Chang’s factory. A test went wrong, with some help from the Button children, and the fire was enormous. But in a place where everything is connected to the factory, where even the streets have names like Dynamite Drive and TNT Trail, this was just another experiment. Another day at work. Everyone took it in stride and welcomed them with open arms. The Buttons feel right are home and immersed themselves in the charm of the small town. This was a place where community worked together as equals despite their varied backgrounds. They treasured their families, and worked hard. They were good people but they were also odd. Every day was a new adventure and the world was their playground. And they had a lot of fireworks to celebrate with. They weren’t without their problems though. A mysterious string of robberies began occurring in the area. The Buttons also learned that there appeared to be some sort of “curse” on the reverends of the past. They had either died or disappeared. This was one tradition that Arthur Button would be happy not to pass on. There are some aspects of the story that I wonder if they will be too complicated for the younger audience to understand but I don’t think it really takes away from the overall story. The ending wasn’t what I hoped for and I wonder how it will affect the next book in the series. Overall I found it to be a clever and entertaining story. The characters were interesting and I hope they will appear again in future books. There is also mystery behind the identity of the author. On the back cover is a blurb about the author traveling in disguise and keeping his location a secret. This is reminescent of Lemony Snickett and the Series of Unfortunate Events books. You can visit Nowan N. Particular and his Boomtown friends at
Posted by Wrighty,
January 3, 2009

In 1949, Reverend Arthur Button moves his family from California to Boomtown, Washington, the home of Chang’s Famous Fireworks Factory. Boomtown is an idyllic mid-century town where everyone is accepted, everyone (regardless of age) is expected to have fun, imagination is encouraged, outrageous inventions reign, and fireworks are used at every town celebration. Written in the first-person voice of Rev. Button, the book is presented as his recollection of his family’s adventures, the extraordinary (and kooky) townspeople, and his struggle to be comfortable in a highly energized community. In addition to telling a tall tale, the author weaves in lessons on acceptance, trust, history, scientific discovery, and invention. Hopefully, their playful presentation will encourage young readers to explore some of the topics further. Even though Boomtown is a fictional town, the book is presented as an authentic account with a map, pictures of people and momentous events, flyers, and invention schematics. These items look authentic, right down to aged corners and coffee stains. Despite a few historical inaccuracies, overall Boomtown is a fun read, especially for boys.
Posted by Tigert,
Dec 14, 2008

I don’t know if you caught the author’s name or not, but the whole book is like that, full of jokes and puns interwoven into this amazingly unusual storyline. For instance, the pastor’s family moves into town and are getting introduced to different people in town. See if you can catch two funny parts about this : “We were introduced to the town sheriff, Burton Ernie, and his charming wife, Laverne. We met Vera DeFazio, the song leader for that morning,” ... Did you catch it? You have to read it out loud and think of Sesame Street to get one and then skip a couple words in between and think about an old comedy about 2 best friends to get the other one. I figure the book is packed with a bunch of stuff like this and I only caught some of it. That part just tickled my funnybone. The storyline had me laughing out loud. Here is a town where the worse things go for the straight laced pastor and his family, the more the town loves him. The high school football team (40 year losing streak and the mascot - Stickville Slugs) is a riot, the fireworks factory blows up the day the pastor arrives in town (thanks to his kids), the 24 previous pastors at his new church have all met untimely demises and now Pastor Arthur Button is scared to death that he is next! Bicycle Slushathons, Exploding Elves, Rocket Reindeer, Baseball Bazookas, Hen Grenades and flying barber chairs and a mystery that ties it all together... this book is packed from page 1 to the end. I had a blast with it and look forward to the next one. I think this would make a good read aloud for the family or tweens and teens would have a blast with it too. If you like the unusual - pick this one up on!
Posted by Janna,
Dec. 23, 2008

Man, I just LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!
How you brought all the characters into the story was great! Though I almost got in trouble in class during silent reading because it was so funny I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. (Good thing the teacher was nice.) The main reason I loved this book was the whole perspective. That’s all the book was about in my eyes. While Rev. Button acted stiff and formal, the rest of the town was completely opposite - that helped to make it so funny! I especially liked the part with the lawyer against the town, expecting the obvious reactions from the people; boy was he wrong!!!
Jacob Torgerson, Age 14
via email, Jan. 13, 2009

My husband is reading Boomtown with the boys at bedtime, and they are loving it! They started reading it on January 1st. They wake up every morning and cant wait to tell me what happened next in Boomtown! I am not sure who is enjoying this book more; my husband or my boys! So far, so great! This is what I have gathered so far: The father in this story is a pastor and he moves his family to Boomtown to take over as pastor of a church up there. There the family meets all sorts of interesting people that do all sorts of strange things. There’s a series of hilariously funny events that take place. The adventure revs up on page 1 and hasn’t slowed down yet! What first drew me to this book was the unique cover. (Isn’t it neat!?) Then, it was the author’s note inside. The author, “Nowen N. Particular” was inspired by Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis and several other remarkable children’s book authors. He says that without them, Boomtown wouldnt exist and that all the places he went to, through those authors books, are what lead him to Boomtown!
The author is currently working on Book 2!
Jan. 8, 2009

Welcome to Boomtown- slugs, explosions and lots of fun
There were two disadvantages to me reviewing this book. Firstly I am not a child (well, not in theory anyway) and secondly I am not American. However, these things did not deter me! Boomtown (Book one) Chang’s Fireworks Factory, is a work of pure fiction, although the introduction ‘after reading this account, you’ll probably think I made the whole thing up. It certainly sounds like I did. But I promise you, it’s all true’ could catch the unwary by surprise! The key to approaching this book is by reading the authors name (something that I failed to do) Nowen.N. Particular is a giveaway that what is to come is indeed, pure fantasy. It follows Pastor Button, his wife and three children as they move to Boomtown, where he is taking up a new ministry. Boom being the operative word. There are enough explosions in the book to keep any child happy. Add to that the acrobatic Indians, the wonderful inventions in the museum, the delightful characters who live in the town and of course, a mystery to be solved, and you have the makings of a book that will keep young minds entertained for quite some time. Maybe it should come with a health warning ‘Do not try any of these things at home’. As an adult it certainly had me smiling- from the pastors hall of fame (or should I say doom?) to the caricatures of the townsfolk it is a book you would enjoy reading our loud to a child. There is also the promise of a second book to come. I would suggest this book would be suitable from 8+ years. I would just issue a slight caution for parents to think about. Firstly, it is ecumenical in its treatment of all the churches and pastors in the town. There are three of them- all characters in their own right-and they join together for several events. Secondly, Sunday is not viewed as a day set aside only for the Lord. Again, I understand that in America Sunday is treated differently than it is here by some, but parents may want to be aware of this.
Jan. 17, 2009

Boomtown Is A Blast
I just read Boomtown; Chang’s Famous Fireworks by Nowen N. Particular. This book was published by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 2008. Boomtown is not an ordinary town. It’s the home of Chang’s Fireworks Factory and the people of Boomtown love to blow things up. This unusual town is where Arthur Button moves his family in the 1940s. He’s the newest pastor at Boomtown Church. Actually, he’s the 25th pastor of Boomtown Church. The 24 preceeding pastors have all died in very unusual ways. Written in the first-person voice of Rev. Button, this book presented memories of his family’s adventures, the townspeople, and his struggle to feel comfortable in a new community. The author includes lessons on acceptance, trust, history, science and family devotion. Your imagination will stretch and grow as you read all the hilarious incidents described in this book. This book has 323 pages and is illustrated with photographs, diagrams, drawings and maps. Boys in the middle grades will find this adventure story a real blast!
Janette Fuller,
Jan. 13, 2009

First name and age of reader/readers: Matt (Daddy), J.P.(8) and Will (6)
Book Title: BOOMTOWN
Author: Nowen N. Particular
Illustrator: Nowen N. Particular
Rate your book on a scale from 1 - 10. (How does it compare to other books you’ve read?)
Matt-10, J.P.- 9 1/2., Will-9
Rate your book with 1-5 stars. (How enjoyable was it?)
Matt-*****, J.P.- *****, Will-*****
What did you like about the book?
BOOMTOWN is the best children’s book I ‘ve ever read. It’s not just for children though. It’s for adults too. This book was exciting, adventurous, humorous...a fun read...a real page turner. It’s all these things and a mystery rolled into one. The kindness of Boomtown should also be noted. This book is definitely going to be a tough act to follow. How could anything compare to this unique and exciting adventure!?
J.P.- I loved the whole book. I loved everything about the book. My most favorite part of the book was “the slug part” which is the football game. The Slugs played the Giants. I also like the picture of Jonny. On the back cover the letter says “Hey, Rocky- Get Busy...” and Busy is someone’s NAME! Other things I liked: The cool rockets, the parade goes bust in Boomtown, that the stolen truck becomes famous, the neat map inside the book, the timeline and the stories about Mabel’s Diner.
Will- Nowen’s got some funny things in there. Funny jokes. They serve bad coffee. Awesome museum.
What did you not like about the book?
Matt, J.P. and Will all agree that they LOVED EVERYTHING about BOOMTOWN!
Matt (father), J.P. (8) and Will (6),
January 2009

Dear Nowen N. Particular,
Our family must tell you that we have simply loved reading Boomtown every evening aloud! We have always read aloud to our children since they were infants. And your book, Boomtown was simply delightful to read aloud! We were often times laughing so hard we were crying! :) Thank you for writing such a wonderful book!!!!! I have recommended your book to many friends and even my dear Mother is reading Boomtown and loving it!!! Thank you again!
Laura Duffey
February 2009

Five out Five for Boomtown
Boomtown is a lovely book with a little bit of suspense,humor,and mystery this book hits the mark. It starts of with Rev. Button narrating everything in his life when he starts a pastoring job in the town of Boomtown. Stuff start disappearing and Rev. Button gets caught in the middle of it. I like this book because of the way everybody is strange and wonderful. Everybody love to blow stuff up. With the mysteries history of Boomtown and their founder Chang. The mysteries of what Rev. Button’s son is up to. The people of Boomtown is in for a surprise and the trial of the century. I give Boomtown Book One: Chang’s Fireworks Factory by Nowen N. Particular a five out of five. I recommend it for the ages 10 and up. Stay away from the chickens!
February 2009

This is a superb, good-humoured, rollicking older children’s adventure story of a preacher and his family moving to an unusual town which has a fireworks factory. Within minutes of their arrival, they cause chaos, but are accepted whole-heartedly by the inhabitants, some of whom are highly unusual themselves, but are all tolerant of people’s quirks.
The Preacher is worried to find that all his predecessors have died in very unusual circumstances, and true to form, his life is repeatedly in danger from freak accidents. Much to his surprise, he discovers and finally accepts that people who are unusual or who have problems don’t always need to be “fixed”, but accepted, loved, and cared for.........
The whole town accepts the new arrivals, and just when it seems that Boomtown is the perfect place to live, a series of mysterious thefts sets the townsfolk ill at ease. They are used to having their bank robbed as regular as clockwork by one inhabitant, who sulks if the police are late coming to arrest him, but these mysterious thefts are unnerving......
The ending is satisfying but rather bitter-sweet. I look forward to more from this author!
Sian Williams,
February 5, 2009

I was BLOWN-OUT-OF-THE-WATER by this hysterical book! Reverend Button has an "explosive" life style and kids to-boot! We LOVED every laughing moment of it!
Bunnie Claxton,
March 5, 2009

We LOVE Boomtown! We have been reading it now as a family for over a month. Instead of watching TV or a movie we will often sit down and read aloud 2 or 3 chapters at once, which is a lot for a 6yo and 4yo but the kids love it. We have laughed and laughed together and the kids have begged us to read chapters over again. This book is a joy and just plain good old fashioned fun for the whole family. We currently have a library copy that is 6 days overdue and I can't renew it b/c there are 16 people who have requested it next! We are almost done but we would LOVE to own this book and any others that Nowen N. Particular writes in this series. Thank you Marietta for sharing with us about this book. We would not have known about it if you hadn't recommended it on your blog. There are now 2 other families in our church that own this book and are reading it together and enjoying it as well.
March 5, 2009

We just finished Boomtown and it was a "BLAST". Thanks for the recommendation!
March 5, 2009

We are REALLY enjoying reading this book together. I wanna go live there!!!
Daphne Rosbury,
March 7, 2009

We think Boomtown is hilariously funny! It makes us BOOM with laughter! P.S. My daughter, Christina, said (with a laugh) "it's just so BOOMTOWNY!!!"
March 8, 2009

We have absolutely loved this book!!! In order to get Caleb interested in it, I read the introduction to him and that's all it took. He snatched it out of my hand and read it over one weekend. I could hear him chuckle to himself many times, then read portions to me so we could both laugh together. It's a blast!!! Can't wait for the next one...
March 12, 2009

My Mom is reading "Boomtown" to my brother and I. I am really, really, really enjoying it. I thought the part about the old lady jumping around in the church was funny. My brother thought it was funny when she was hanging from the chandelier. My brother and I like to get on the Boomtown website and blast eggs. We found all the things on the map. We found out that you have to stay away from the chickens in the book. We can't wait to read the second book and I hope there will be more.
Carrington and Clayton,
March 12, 2009

Our family really enjoyed this book! We would love another copy so we can give ours to someone else to enjoy the fun! A great family read! My kids wished we lived in Boomtown!
N. Deyess,
March 12, 2009

We JUST started the book and my boys are loving it!!! Thanks Nowen for what I know is going to a great book and a wonderful time for my boys and I to enjoy together!!!
March 12, 2009

Hello Nowen.
This is EJ (I saw you at Duvall Christian with the Miller bros). I have recently returned from visiting Boomtown Wa. It is a great place. The fireworks are AWESOME and the people are very hospitable. Concerning the book, the suspense was high and humor top-notch. I do not think I have ever laughed so hard while reading a book. Thanks for all that you do.
EJ Olsen (Maxwell Robert)
March 10, 2009

Recently, my family and I finished reading a book called Boomtown by Nowen N. Particular. The story is hilarious and filled with exploding elves, hen grenades, and a sheriff called Burton Ernie! It is about a pastor and his family who move to a place called Boomtown. The new pastor and his family are shocked to find out that Boomtown’s citizens’ favorite past time is blowing things up! Not exactly the nice, quiet, and small town the new pastor had hoped for. Boomtown church has had over 24 pastors in the last 75 years each of them dying in weird ways. So while the new pastor is fearing for his life, strange things start happening around Boomtown! This is a delightful, fun-filled, and even mysterious book. I highly recomend this book. It is great for reading with the family.
“Storm Queen”
Posted on her blog, March 12, 2009