The book title was definitely the boy's name with a subtitle. The story that I can remember is that the boy is constantly bumbling and breaking things and feels like he can't control it. On his birthday, his estranged grandfather shows up late and reveals that his clumsiness is actually a gift, and that the grandpa's talent is being late. The rest of the plot is blurry, but I remember a few tidbits.

  1. Grandpa gets shot and uses his power to arrive late to the pain.
  2. A cousin whose ability is to get lost uses their power to teleport our heroes around a labyrinth with every step.
  3. A big moment where our main character shatters an entire building or something by using his clumsiness.
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    Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year did you read this and when do you think it might've been published? Also, do you recall anything about the cover? Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 12:41
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    IIRC, Grandpa gets shot at, but arrives late to where the bullet passes. i.e. he makes bullets miss. It's a pretty powerful talent. Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


It sounds like the Alcatraz series of books, by Brandon Sanderson. The first book is titled Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians. I've not read it, but here's some snips from TvTropes that line up with your descriptions:

Alcatraz Smedry is an orphan who has been passed around the foster care system for his thirteen years of life due to his habit of breaking anything he touches. It's nothing intentional, it's just that things he touches have a tendency to fall apart. Door handles, pots, ovens ... one time he picked up a chicken, only for it to lose all its feathers and only eat cat food from then on.


The next day, Alcatraz's grandfather arrives (late, as usual) to take him on an adventure to recover the sands from his evil Librarian caseworker Ms. Fletcher

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    Thank you, this is exactly it! I had no idea that those books were written by Brandon Sanderson
    – vindawg
    Commented Nov 26, 2023 at 20:45

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