The Atomic Weight of Secrets or the Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black (Young Inventors Guild Series, Book 1)by Eden Unger Bowditch
But all that changed the day the men in black arrived.
They arrived to take twelve-year-old Jasper Modest and his six-year-old sister, Lucy—he with his remarkable creations and
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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.
They arrived to take twelve-year-old Jasper Modest and his six-year-old sister, Lucy—he with his remarkable creations and she with her perfect memory—from their London, England home to a place across the ocean they’d never seen before.
They arrived to take nine-year-old Wallace Banneker, last in a long line of Africa-descended scientists, from his chemistry, his father, and his New York home to a life he’d never imagined.
Twelve-year-old Noah Canto-Sagas, already missing his world-famous and beloved mother, was taken from Toronto, Canada, carrying only his clothes, his violin, and his remarkable mind.
And thirteen-year-old Faye Vigyanveta, the genius daughter of India’s wealthiest and most accomplished scientists, was removed by force from her life of luxury.
From all across the world, they’ve been taken to mysterious Sole Manner Farm, and a beautiful but isolated schoolhouse in Dayton, Ohio, without a word from their parents as to why. Not even the wonderful schoolteacher they find there, Miss Brett, can explain it. She can give them love and care, but she can’t give them answers.
Things only get stranger from there. What is the book with no pages Jasper and Lucy find in their mother’s underwear drawer, and why do the men in black want it so badly?
How is it all the children have been taught the same bizarre poem—and yet no other rhymes or stories their entire lives?
And why haven’t their parents tried to contact them?
Whatever the reasons, to brash, impetuous Faye, the situation is clear: They and their parents have been kidnapped by these terrible men in black, and the only way they’re going to escape and rescue their parents is by completing the invention they didn’t even know they were all working on—an invention that will change the world forever.
But what if the men in black aren’t trying to harm the children? What if they’re trying to protect them?
And if they’re trying to protect them—from what?
An amazing story about the wonders of science and the still greater wonders of friendship, The Atomic Weight of Secrets or the Arrival of 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.
Meet the Author
Eden Unger Bowditch has been writing since she was very small—in fact, since she could use her brain to think of something to say. She wrote while attaining her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and she wrote songs as lead singer of the band enormous. She has written stories and plays and shopping lists and screenplays and dreams and poems—and also books about her longtime Baltimore home. She has been a journalist, as well as a welder, and an editor. The Atomic Weight of Secrets is her first young adult novel, and she has been as excited writing it as she hopes you are reading it.
Eden grew up in Chicago, and later lived both in Los Angeles and in Paris. She now lives with her family (husband and three children) in Cairo, Egypt. But that’s another story entirely . . .
Her wonderful website for the book is www.younginventorsguild.com.
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Long Live the Smart Kids! Did I enjoy this book: It’s delightful! The Atomic Weight of Secrets is a yummy treat: it has all the best flavors from series like A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia with just the right amount of uniqueness. Bowditch’s writing is light and lovely, and her characterization is spot-on. It shouldn’t be praiseworthy, but I’ll admit I was enamored from the beginning simply because it’s clear Bowditch spent some quality time with a grammar text. And, well, I’ll further admit that it’s quite refreshing to read a book wherein the heroes use their intellect (rather than magic) to solve problems. I loved it. Long Live the Smart Kids! Would I recommend it: Yep. Read it. NOW. And you know what? I haven’t read it yet, but I’m going to go ahead and recommend you pick up the second book in the series (The Ravens of Solemano) while you’re at it. As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.
I read the second of Eden Unger Bowditches Young Inventor’s Guild books recently, and I was hooked. So I immediately ordered a copy of book one. The Atomic Weight of Secrets, or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black does not disappoint. Steampunk, set in an era of discovery, when railways are new, mills belch smoke, and clockwork fuels intrigue, it brings together five youngsters, with a flavor of Harry Potter or Narnia’s children, steals them from their parents, and sets them up in strange new homes, with a strange new boarding school and kindly schoolmistress. The flavors of freshbaked biscuits fill the air. The chatter of children vies with the cries of crows. And something mysterious is keeping their parents away. Have the parents been nefariously kidnapped, are they working for the government (but which government—this novel is nicely global in scope), or have the mysterious men in black simply hired their services? Whatever the reason, these men in black are delightfully strange, childish in their odd habits and costumes, haunting with their infrequent words which frequently sound more like riddles, yet oddly powerful. Meanwhile the children, all scientifically inclined, try to plan for escape, and learn to become friends. Secrets unite them. Secrets separate. And some secrets might even be weighty enough to change the world. There’s an appealing satisfaction to secrets recognized, mystery to those yet unresolved, and fun in the reciting of curious rhymes. There’s joy too in the old-fashioned feel of dual titles—a technique the author applies to her chapters as well. And there’s a a fun duality to wise children who need parents, clever inventions which need time to mature, and powerful strangers who seem so very helpless. Ah, what a strange weight all these secrets bear, and I’m longing to know more of the Men in Black, more of their curious duality, and more of the importance of these children’s inventiveness. A children’s novel that blends young and old, new ways and ancient, new ideas and time-tested truths, and science and mystery—Eden Unger Bowditch’s Young Inventors Guild series combines the fresh new feel J. K. Rowling brought to children’s literature with the old-world comforts of C.S. Lewis, and creates something truly different, modern and enticing—highly recommended. Disclosure: I couldn’t resist buying book one after I’d read book two. Now I’m eagerly awaiting book three.
Each character is presented well as the story progresses. I liked watching the bonding of the kids as they worked together and puzzled over their predicament. Meanwhile their genius brains come together to create and invent. For Alice in Wonderland fans like me, there are mentions and references that blend in well and just tickle.
Science, invention, and mystery come together in this wonderful book by Eden Bowditch. Five children (Jasper, Lucy, Wallace, Noah, and Faye) find themselves in school together, away from their families and friends. Each has a scientific gift, and at first, none of them realized that each is part of an overall puzzle. As they work on their individual experiments, they worry about their families and what has happened to them. The children find enjoyment in each other and in their experiments, but they want to go home but they are watched constantly. The "Men in Black" are interesting characters who are keeping the children against their will. Why are they being held away from their families? Will any of these talented young people escape the Men in Black and return to their homes and families? How long will it take for them to figure out that they are more powerful both as a team and in their inventions? This novel wonderfully combines the love of science and math with youth and teamwork. It is geared for children and young adults, but everyone will enjoy the fun and intrigue this book brings. I highly recommend it for family libraries as it is a book that lends itself to being shared during family time. I will be buying copies for my grandchildren. Thank you to Net Gallery and Bancroft Press for the opportunity of getting a preview copy for my Nook!I can't wait for the next book in the series.
The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black was an original tale with well-developed, sharp characters. Lucy, Jasper, Wallace, Noah and Faye were left alone without warning and without any explanation. It was good to encounter clever characters that were far from average children. They stood out, knew that they were different and accepted it. Written well with attention to detail, the story unfolded slowly. For once, I liked how the author took her time. I am used to fast-paced novels and I crave the usual urgency and intensity of a story. But the slow pace of this novel proved to be good. That way, I was able to soak the story in, to pay more attention to the details. Although sometimes I found the story dragging, I was highly interested in reading about the family life and school life of each character. I got to know them really well. I sympathized and felt for them. Being the kids of scientifically focused parents was far from easy. They craved more time with their parents, attention and most of all, love. Each one of them had their own issues to deal with at home and at school. Being young and brilliant had a price. The mysterious men in black were truly very mysterious. They wore a range of black clothes - from simple to weird to bizarre. They spoke from one-syllable answers to a confusing jumble of words and sometimes, they didn't talk at all. They baffled me a lot. It was fun reading about them but the anonymity, the absence of knowledge about their identities drove me mad, hungry for answers. Part of the reason why I kept reading on, aside from enjoying reading about the inventors, was that I wanted to know who they were, if they were part of some kind of scientific society or a group who wanted to abuse scientists and take over the world. Each one of the main characters has a contribution to the brilliant invention. It was pure genius. While they were working on this and staying at Sole Manner Farm with the lovely Miss Brett, they discussed endlessly about their situation, their parents' situation and their escape plans. They were worried about their parents and they wanted to try to escape so they could get to them, or if the mysterious men in black were holding them against their will, try to save them no matter how impossible and difficult that was. Their dedication to their work and to their parents was strong. I liked how they wanted to explore the possibilities, work as a team and try to turn these possibilities into reality. The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black is a unique, fun and imaginative debut with outstanding characters. This is perfect for patient readers and readers who love adventures and historical/science novels.