Author: Lissa Evans
Series: Stuart #1
Published: May 2011 by Doubleday
Length: 282 pages
Other info: This has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Shortlist. It is also published as Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure
Summary : Stuart Horten—ten years old and small for his age—moves to the dreary town of Beeton, far away from all his friends. And then he meets his new next-door neighbours, the unbearable Kingley triplets, and things get even worse. But in Beeton begins the strangest adventure of Stuart’s life as he is swept up in quest to find his great-uncle’s lost workshop—a workshop stuffed with trickery and magic. There are clues to follow and puzzles to solve, but what starts as fun ends up as danger, and Stuart begins to realize that he can’t finish the task by himself. . . .
Review: Stuart Horten is a young boy who finds something unexpected out about his family. Great uncle Tony was an inventor. Whose workshop is packed with...well...everything. and puzzles. Lots of them. Stuart sets out on an adventure.
This definitely isn’t one of my normal reads. Once again, it’s a Carnegie book, which I’m meant to have read all of them by the first of May (I’m writing this on the 14th of April. This will not happen.), so should be assured of it’s quality, even if it’s not my type.
I really can’t reveal the plot. I’ll just end up telling you everything that happens, because there isn’t really anywhere you can stop describing it. So much happens for such a short book and it’s really fun seeing the plot develop.
Lissa has managed to work in a lot of puzzles, which were good fun to figure out along with Stuart. A nice thing about Small Change for Stuart was that each chapter ended on a cliffhanger, something vital just being revealed so that you have to read on and find out how that is important, what will come of it and such.
The characters really made this one for me. Stuart is very well developed, inquisitive and clever. April is one of three identical triplets, who doesn’t get on with Stuart to start with. However, they soon get to be good friends, and work well together. The baddies in this one weren’t as strong as the others, but were still good characters. Stuart’s dad was very funny with his overuse of long words, and Stuart’s blind grand-aunt (or something) was just really really cool. They all were. I also liked the way something we learn about them ties in by the end of it all with what we learnt earlier on, but didn’t think about to start with. Amazing how that happens.
This is definitely a heartwarming book. Seeing Stuart and April overcome puzzles, infiltrate museums and such really can’t fail to make you smile.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a book that is part magic, part mystery, and full of fun.