Reading Level: MIddle Grade
Size: 240 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Nick and Tesla series
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through Quirk books in enchange for an honest review. This was a fun middle grade adventure/mystery that I enjoyed reading.
This book is about Nick and Tesla, two twins who end up moving in with their mad scientist uncle when their parents are out of town for the summer on work. At their Uncle’s house they accidentally shoot a rocket into the yard of a mansion. When they go to retrieve it they find out that the house is closely guarded and that there is a strange sad girl looking out the 2nd story window of the house.
They decide to investigate and find a way both into the house and to talk to the girl. Of course to do this they will have to come up with some crazy inventions to help.
Interspersed throughout the book are small inventions that kids can do at home. All but maybe one of these inventions require quite a bit of stuff that you won’t have at home and they also require adult assistance to do. The only one that doesn’t is the door alarm. The door alarm uses batteries, quarters, nails. However you do need to bend a nail, which again will require help from an adult.
Based on the above I would buy this book for the story, not the experiments/devices you can build. I am not sure why the author didn’t make some of the things easier…for example why not have instructions for building a stomp rocket instead of a pressured rocket system that takes a whole bunch of PVC and drilling?
Nick and Tesla are characters that are easy to engage with and relate to. Their Uncle is pretty “absent minded crazy scientist like”, but he obviously loves them and enjoys having them around.
The plot is straight-forward but well done. I enjoyed reading about the different ways Nick and Tesla try and get done what they need to get done. It’s a great book because it has a boy and a girl in it and they both do science stuff; so I think both girls and boys will enjoy this book equally.
The story was well done and engaging and I enjoyed it. It would be a fun read for boys and girls alike. It’s a quick read and well written.
Overall a fun middle grade read with the twist of having things you can build at home yourself in here. I enjoyed the story and characters and thought they were well done. It’s a good book to promote thinking for yourself and science and it’s very funny at parts so kids (and adults) will enjoy it. My only complaint is that most of the devices will not be things kids can build for themselves; some of them are rather complicated and require things you might not have at home.
I would buy this for the fun story but probably not for the device-building ideas. There are better books out there for that. Still it’s a neat idea and I plan on reading more books in this series in the future. Recommended to fans of middle grade mystery, spy books, and adventure books.