"Is it my imagination,"
grumbles the odd old man
in the bookstore,
"or is the world
getting more and more
In the fifteen hours since Lucas Graham arrived in New York City, his own annoyance level has skyrocketed. For starters, he'd rather be spending his Christmas week at the beach with Mom instead of visiting Dad and Claire in the cold and slush. He'd rather not be sharing a bathroom with his critical stepsister, Phoebe, and her disapproving cat. He'd rather not be threatened with a haircut at Trims for Tykes by his little stepbrother's unspeakable baby-sitter, Gladys.
And he wishes the strange Santa in front of Book World had not slipped this beeping, buzzing device into his backpack for safekeeping, even if it does seem to have entertaining effects on cats and baby-sitters. And who are these strange, green-coated guys milling around, muttering into walkie-talkies -- guys only twelve-year-old Lucas and this Santa seem to see? Lucas overhears the words "annoyance removal," as if they're attuned to his innermost wishes. Something weird is going on. Weird, but irresistible.
Now this old man, Izzy Gribitz, is talking about bungling agents, secret passages, this mysterious remote control-like device, and something called the Annoyance Bureau. What does it all mean?
"That," says Izzy, "is for me to know and you to find out."
About: While spending Christmas in New York City with his father and new stepfamily, twelve-year Lucas meets a rebellious agent of the secret Annoyance Bureau, which exists to control or eliminate all sources of annoyance in the modern world.
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