Saturday, March 12, 2011

ARC Review: The Atomic Weight of Secrets... by Eden Unger Bowditch

The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black
Author: Eden Unger Bowditch
Publication: Bancroft Press (March 15, 2011)

Description: In 1903, five truly brilliant young inventors, the children of the world's most important scientists, went about their lives and their work as they always had.

But all that changed the day the men in black arrived.

They arrived to take twelve-year-old Jasper Modest and his six-year-old sister, Lucy he with his remarkable creations and she with her perfect memory from their London, England home to a place across the ocean they'd never seen before.

They arrived to take nine-year-old Wallace Banneker, last in a long line of Africa-descended scientists, from his chemistry, his father, and his New York home to a life he d never imagined.

Twelve-year-old Noah Canto-Sagas, already missing his world-famous and beloved mother, was taken from Toronto, Canada, carrying only his clothes, his violin, and his remarkable mind.

And thirteen-year-old Faye Vigyanveta, the genius daughter of India's wealthiest and most accomplished scientists, was removed by force from her life of luxury.

From all across the world, they've been taken to mysterious Sole Manner Farm, and a beautiful but isolated schoolhouse in Dayton, Ohio, without a word from their parents as to why. Not even the wonderful schoolteacher they find there, Miss Brett, can explain it. She can give them love and care, but she can't give them answers.

Things only get stranger from there. What is the book with no pages Jasper and Lucy find in their mother's underwear drawer, and why do the men in black want it so badly?

How is it all the children have been taught the same bizarre poem and yet no other rhymes or stories their entire lives?

And why haven't their parents tried to contact them?

Whatever the reasons, to brash, impetuous Faye, the situation is clear: They and their parents have been kidnapped by these terrible men in black, and the only way they're going to escape and rescue their parents is by completing the invention they didn't even know they were all working on an invention that will change the world forever.

But what if the men in black aren't trying to harm the children? What if they're trying to protect them?

And if they're trying to protect them, from what?

An amazing story about the wonders of science and the still greater wonders of friendship, The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Mysterious Men in Black , the first book of the Young Inventors Guild trilogy, is a truly original novel. Young readers will forever treasure Eden Unger Bowditch's funny, inventive, poignant, and wonderfully fun fiction debut.

My Thoughts: This is a very interesting story. I spent the first eight chapters meeting the kids and feeling very sorry for them. While all of them have been raised in comfortable situations, they have all been emotionally neglected by parents who were extremely busy with their own concerns. They are all scientific geniuses but they are not happy or well-adjusted. They meet when their parents disappear and they are taken to a school outside of Dayton, Ohio.

The story deals with the children all working on various projects that come together as the first aeroplane. The children begin as strangers but soon learn that they have to work together and rely on each other's strengths. Each child has a unique personality and a distinct voice. I was especially fond of the youngest - Lucy - who had a phenomenal memory and ofter saw what the others did not.

I enjoyed the story. It did, however, have a leisurely pace and an old-fashioned style. It is most suited for the thoughtful reader but the over-the-top villains may also appeal to the students who are enthralled by the Series of Unfortunate Events.

There are many questions still to be answered in the further books of this trilogy. Who are the mysterious men in black? What is it that the parents are working on? What is it that our villain is really looking for? I look forward to learning the answers to these questions and finding out what else the young inventors can do.

Favorite Quote:
Mostly, they learned that, however unsure they were about the rest of the world, and however much they didn't fit in with most teachers and students, they were sure Miss Brett cared, they had each other, and they were all in this together.

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