The Boneshaker

The Boneshaker

4.1 12
by Kate Milford, Andrea Offermann
     
 

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Thirteen-year-old Natalie Minks loves machines, particularly automata—self-operating mechanical devices, usually powered by clockwork. When Jake Limberleg and his traveling medicine show arrive in her small Missouri town with a mysterious vehicle under a tarp and an uncanny ability to make Natalie’s half-built automaton move, she feels in her gut that

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Overview

Thirteen-year-old Natalie Minks loves machines, particularly automata—self-operating mechanical devices, usually powered by clockwork. When Jake Limberleg and his traveling medicine show arrive in her small Missouri town with a mysterious vehicle under a tarp and an uncanny ability to make Natalie’s half-built automaton move, she feels in her gut that something about this caravan of healers is a bit off. Her uneasiness leads her to investigate the intricate maze of the medicine show, where she discovers a horrible truth and realizes that only she has the power to set things right.

Set in 1914, The Boneshaker is a gripping, richly textured novel about family, community, courage, and looking evil directly in the face in order to conquer it. This ebook includes a sample chapter of THE BROKEN LANDS.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1913, Milford's debut is a sure-footed, slow-burning thriller. Feisty 13-year-old Natalie has grown up in a small Missouri town located near a mysterious crossroads, listening to the local myths about it that her mother shares. When Dr. Limberleg opens the Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show, the townspeople (afraid of catching the neighboring town's flu) take to his products and team, who promote phrenology, hydrotherapy, magnetism, and amber therapy. Mechanically minded Natalie, however, is determined to get through the smoke and mirrors, and she finds that Dr. Limberleg's cures come with strings attached. "Most people are much older when they discover their world isn't the place they thought it was," he warns. "By then... sometimes... it's too late." The tale is shrouded in mystery and explores themes of gaining confidence and recognizing evil, and Milford's detail-rich prose makes it all the more haunting ("In the gaslight and what morning sun that filtered through the heavy curtains, startling shapes began to resolve themselves into familiar objects. Seeing them clearly didn't make her like them any better"). Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10–up. (May)
From the Publisher
A 2011 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book

"Not to be confused with Cherie Priest's steampunk novel of the same name (though there is just the barest whiff of steampunk here), this historical fantasy uses the classic devil-at-the-crossroads motif as the foundation for an elaborate and intricate gearwork story set in the little town of Arcane, Missouri, in 1913...Both impressive and ambitious, Milford's first novel rarely overreaches as it lays out an eerie and atmospheric vision of early-twentieth-century Americana, electrified by supernatural traces and a generously complex look at good, evil, and the wide swath in between."—Booklist, starred review

"The tale is shrouded in mystery and explores themes of gaining confidence and recognizing evil, and Milford's detail-rich prose makes it all the more haunting ("In the gaslight and what morning sun that filtered through the heavy curtains, startling shapes began to resolve themselves into familiar objects. Seeing them clearly didn't make her like them any better")."—Publishers Weekly

"This unusual story, with elements of folklore, tall tales and steampunk, has rich details of small-town America in the early 20th century as well as the impact of budding technology. Natalie is a well-drawn protagonist with sturdy supporting characters around her. The tension built into the solidly constructed plot is complemented by themes that explore the literal and metaphorical role of crossroads and that thin line between good and evil."—Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—It's 1913 in Arcane, Missouri, and all Natalie Minks has to worry about is learning to ride the Chesterlane Eidolon her father rebuilt for her—a bicycle so unique that it thwarts her every attempt to even stay on it. Natalie loves bicycles and other machines because she understands them. But then Dr. Limberleg's Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show sets up in Arcane with its miraculous cures and automata that seemingly don't have a key to wind and can run forever. Natalie is convinced that there's something sinister behind the miracles and machines at the medicine show, and the strange visions she begins having about the town's history reinforce her fears. With so many of the townspeople using Dr. Limberleg's ginger root cure, it is left to Natalie to discover the truth about the doctor and to save the town. Erin Moon solidly performs Kate Milford's excellent steampunk tale (Clarion Books, 2010) of early 20th century small-town America. Her youthful voice is believable as the spirited and determined Natalie, and she gives unique voices to many of the other well-drawn characters. This rich tale of good versus evil and finding inner strength will stay with listeners long after the climactic showdown.—Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL
Children's Literature - Amanda MacGregor
The year is 1913, and the small town of Arcane, Missouri has a strange feeling to it. Located near the crossroads of an abandoned and crumbling town, Arcane has a rich oral lore concerning its eccentric townsfolk and mystifying events. Thirteen-year-old Natalie cannot shake the ominous feeling that something big is about to happen in her town. Around certain people, strange thoughts about the Devil and hazy visions flit around Natalie's mind. When the creepy huckster Dr. Jake Limberleg shows up with his traveling medicine show, Natalie's spells increase. Though they share an interest in automatons, or small machines that move on their own when wound, a suspicious Natalie takes an immediate dislike to Limberleg and sets about spying on him. As her mother continues to tell Natalie stories of the town's past, her investigations begin to reveal the evil that has set up shop in Arcane. The more stories Natalie hears, the more the mysteries of Arcane seem impossible and incomprehensible. When she learns what Limberleg is really selling and who he is working for, she must work quickly to save her town before it is too late. The sinister undertones of this thriller are understated enough to leave readers in a constant state of unease, even when it is not readily apparent why. Much of the pieces of the puzzle are put together through remembered stories and legends, an effective way to move the densely packed story along without slowing it down. Though Arcane teems with unusual and odd characters, none stand out more than Natalie herself. Intelligent, curious, and brave, Natalie plays the main role in unraveling the mystery in Arcane and easily carries the story. Pen and ink line drawings add chills to the gothic-feeling story. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
Kirkus Reviews
In 1913 Arcane, Mo., 13-year-old Natalie Minks loves mechanical things, and her father's bicycle-repair shop is the perfect place to tinker. Naturally curious, she is intrigued when a medicine show comes to town with promises of healing potions and an array of unusual machines. Folks in town are skeptical of "snake oil salesmen," but Natalie suspects that the strangers are more sinister than mere con artists. At the same time, she experiences visions that may be connected to the town's history and these mysterious travelers. These visions heighten her fears that her family and town are in danger from unresolved deals made with the Devil himself. This unusual story, with elements of folklore, tall tales and steampunk, has rich details of small-town America in the early 20th century as well as the impact of budding technology. Natalie is a well-drawn protagonist with sturdy supporting characters around her. The tension built into the solidly constructed plot is complemented by themes that explore the literal and metaphorical role of crossroads and that thin line between good and evil. (Historical fantasy. 10 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547487434
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/24/2010
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
585,306
Lexile:
900L (what's this?)
File size:
23 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
A 2011 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book

"Not to be confused with Cherie Priest's steampunk novel of the same name (though there is just the barest whiff of steampunk here), this historical fantasy uses the classic devil-at-the-crossroads motif as the foundation for an elaborate and intricate gearwork story set in the little town of Arcane, Missouri, in 1913...Both impressive and ambitious, Milford's first novel rarely overreaches as it lays out an eerie and atmospheric vision of early-twentieth-century Americana, electrified by supernatural traces and a generously complex look at good, evil, and the wide swath in between."—Booklist, starred review

"The tale is shrouded in mystery and explores themes of gaining confidence and recognizing evil, and Milford's detail-rich prose makes it all the more haunting ("In the gaslight and what morning sun that filtered through the heavy curtains, startling shapes began to resolve themselves into familiar objects. Seeing them clearly didn't make her like them any better")."—Publishers Weekly

"This unusual story, with elements of folklore, tall tales and steampunk, has rich details of small-town America in the early 20th century as well as the impact of budding technology. Natalie is a well-drawn protagonist with sturdy supporting characters around her. The tension built into the solidly constructed plot is complemented by themes that explore the literal and metaphorical role of crossroads and that thin line between good and evil."—Kirkus Reviews

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Meet the Author

Kate Milford is the author of The Boneshaker and The Broken Lands, has written for stage and screen, and is a regular travel columnist for the Nagspeake Board of Tourism and Culture. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. To learn more, visit www.clockworkfoundry.com.


Andrea Offermann attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and now lives in Hamburg, Germany. Her illustrations for The Boneshaker marked her U.S. publishing debut. To find out more about Andrea and her work, please visit www.andreaoffermann.com.

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