Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review: The Atomic Weight of Secrets

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Atomic Weight of Secrets
Author: Eden Unger Bowditch
Publisher: Bancroft Press
Pages: Hardcover; 339
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Source: NetGalley
Intended Reading Group:
Upper Middle Grade/Young Adult

Content Screening:
Nothing of note

HDB Rating:
3 Keys to My Heart

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.
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.

The Atomic Weight of Secrets tells the story of five young children who are absolutely brilliant inventors. Torn away from their homes without warning, they are deposited far from home. Mysterious men in black are constantly monitoring them. All they know is that they have one another, and their parents are missing. Sounds like quite a secretive mystery doesn't it?

Let me begin at the beginning, with the characters. Lucy, Jasper, Wallace, Faye and Noah are a motley crew of kids at first. All from different backgrounds, it takes them a while to understand one another. Eden Unger Bowditch allows each of her characters to have such unique and wonderful personalities. From the quiet and shy one, to the fiery and slightly spiteful one, they are so much fun to follow. As a reader, I fell in love with them more and more as I learned about their pasts.

However it was the story that really held problems for me. So much time is spent giving background to the children, and allowing them to grow, that there isn't much actual story line at all. It's slow. The elements of mystery that are present are great. The men in black are a constant reminder of something much bigger than the children themselves. Still, to be honest, nothing really happens. This isn't a spoiler, it's just true. I know this is a first book in a series and so I suppose that more will be coming later. I just felt a little cheated by how incomplete this book really felt.

Part historical fiction, part mystery The Atomic Weight of Secrets really did have a lot of potential to be fabulous. The children drew me in, but the story killed it for me. There were even times where things were so slow that I almost decided to put the book down, and that hardly ever happens for me. What I hope is that the next book in the series has more action! As I said, the characters are wonderful. I look forward to seeing them use their talents even more, hopefully this time in an effort to do something daring.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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