Saturday, September 7, 2013

ARC Review: Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things
Author: Cynthia Voigt
Publication: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 10, 2013)

Description: Newbery medalist Cynthia Voigt presents a rollicking mystery in three acts!

Max's parents are missing. They are actors, and thus unpredictable, but sailing away, leaving Max with only a cryptic note, is unusual even for them. Did they intend to leave him behind? Have they been kidnapped?

Until he can figure it out, Max feels it's safer to keep a low profile. Hiding out is no problem for a child of the theater. Max has played many roles, he can be whoever he needs to be to blend in. But finding a job is tricky, no matter what costume he dons.

Ironically, it turns out Max has a talent for finding things. He finds a runaway child, a stray dog, a missing heirloom, a lost love. . . . So is he a finder? A detective? No, it's more. Max finds a way to solve people's problems—he engineers better outcomes for them. He becomes Mister Max, Solutioneer. 

Now if only he could find a solution to his own problems . . .

My Thoughts: Max is the child of two actors. He has grown up around drama of all kinds and has watched many of his parents' performances. When his parents receive an offer to travel and develop a theatrical troupe for a mysterious maharajah, Max wonders if he will be left behind to stay with his Grammie. At 12, his father thinks of him as being old enough to be independent. His parents plan to take Max along, but when he arrives at the docks, his parents are gone. Upon investigation he learns that the ship they were supposed to sail on was never in the port. 

Max has to find a way to survive and find out what happened to his parents. Did they mean to leave him behind? Are they in some kind of trouble? Max also has to find a way to support himself. He manages to fall into some lucky circumstances when he returns a lost child to his frantic mother. She rewards him and recommends him as a finder to others who have lost things. 

The story clearly takes place in the past but the exact location or time are not given. Max says he lives in a small town in a small country. The town has an Old Town and a New Town and it has at least one titled person - the Baroness Barthold.

The cast of characters spanned all social strata from a wealthy businessman and his intrepid daughter, to a lost heir now working as a tutor, to a disgraced housemaid who is a marvelous pastry chef, to a simple girl from a workhouse, and to long-eared villains who want something from Max's house. Max interacts with all of them and solves problems for them (or manipulates them into solving their problems themselves).

The story was entertaining and Max was an engaging main character. I look forward to the next book in this series to find out more about Max and the problem his parents are having.
Favorite Quote:
"That's what I really am," he realized. "A solver." But he didn't care for that name, which among other things sounded too much like salver or even silver. He tried a synonym, silently, inside his head, and liked ti so much he said it our loud. "A solutioneer."
I got this ARC at ALA. You can buy you copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your thoughts on the book. Definitely sounds like one I would enjoy too! Thanks for the great review!


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