Something for every one: mystery & suspense, science & invention, friendship & family


For reasons they don't understand Noah Canto-Sagas (12) of Toronto, Canada; Faye Vigyanveta (13) from New Delhi, India; Wallace Banneker (9) of New York; and siblings Jasper and Lucy Modest from London, England (12, 6) have been taken from their parents and brought to Sole Manner Farm in Dayton, Ohio. They are the children of five of the world's most important scientists; and they have three things in common. Each is a gifted inventor in their own right; their parents taught them the exact same (obscure) poem; and they want to know what the men in black did with their parents.

Miss Brett, who is their de facto caretaker, is also their teacher. Monday through Friday, she introduces them to children's songs and literature, nurtures their natural gifts, and helps them move from feeling abandoned to discovering friendship and knowing love. On the weekends, the children return to their new "homes," always hopeful for a letter from their parents. But they never do.

For all that Miss Brett has done (and they love her dearly), she cannot answer their questions. Since Miss Brett cannot explain why their parents haven't contacted them, the children are determined to figure it out themselves.Using their powers of observation and combining their talents, the children create an invention that will allow them to escape their isolated existence and rescue their parents. Brilliant as they may be, can 5 children really save themselves, find their parents, and save them too?

Parent Perspective:
I am not a science fiction fan, but the minute I finished this book I looked to find the next one. The story is unique, the characters feel real, and the historical piece is integrated flawlessly. I did not see coming a connection to two famous brothers from Ohio. But it was perfectly done.

The ensemble characters (not the children, Miss Brett, or the parents) add a bit of quirkiness that help keeps the story light, especially given that the children have been kidnapped and live in isolation without contact from their parents. Even understanding that this is the first book, I felt the ending could have tied up (or at least tightened) a few of the looser ends. For some readers this could be too much of a cliffhanger to want to keep reading.

All in all, highly recommended for preteens and teens who love stories with great characters, mystery, suspense, adventure, and historical fiction. This is a book I would love to listen to as an audiobook.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Get ready for a wonderful, magical adventure. Whether you love mystery and suspense, friendship stories, historical fiction, or science and science fiction, there is something in this story for everyone. Readers are sure to be looking for Book 2 as soon as they finish this one.

Type of Book:
This is a science fiction mystery adventure set in the early 1900s. There is a historical fiction element that builds on the "young inventors" theme.
Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
Recommended Age To Read Together:
11 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. If you like reading aloud with your preteens, this trilogy is definitely one to consider buying. They will want to re-read it again to revisit friends and discover the little details and clues they missed the first time.

Title The Atomic Weight of Secrets: Or the Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black

The Young Inventors Guild, Book 1

Author Eden Unger Bowditch
Publisher Bancroft Press © 2011
ISBN 9781610880022
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Adventure, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, History - 1900-1919

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