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Posted April 23, 2013
I am twelve years old, so I think I am the target audience for this book. I read "Cragbridge Hall Book 1" because my brother brought it home after it was signed by Chad Morris two weeks before it was available in stores. Then I got to meet Mr. Morris in person after I read the book!
This book was very exciting. I felt like I knew the characters, the brother and sister, and I cared what happened to them. When their grandfather disappeared, this book did a great job of making me want to help solve the mystery. I like it when a book makes me use my imagination, but I really love it when I feel like I am a part of the story.
"The Inventor's Secret" also made me think about what things would really be like in the future, and that the people in 2074 might think we're a bit crazy for our ideas about what technology they will have. They might believe we thought they had time machines.
This is a great book for middle-school children like me to read. My brother is the one who brought the book home, but I am a girl and I loved this book. I recommend it!
Posted April 4, 2013
Cragbridge Hall is a exciting story. It reminds me a little of Harry Potter in the facts that a lot of it is at a boarding school. Teens have to be smart and save the day. It is a action, history, adventure and fantasy story. It is aimed at middle school ages. It is also a clean read.
Abby and Derick Cragbridge are starting at the best middle school in the world. Derick got in because he is a genius. Abby first got a rejection letter than later that week got a letter saying she is in they made a mistake. Abby knows that she got in because of her grandfather got her in. The twins are starting 7th grade.
Before they get dropped off at school they visit their Grandfather Oscar Cragbridge he is a famous inventor but most of his inventions are classified. The twins will find out and be able to use some of them at the school named after him. Grandpa has gifts for Abby and Derick.
something that goes inside their rings that opens his journals for them to see. Also gave them two lockets. He wants them to be kept secret and show no one especially their teachers. They are too look at it every day and if it changed they will be told what to do.
Abby feels like she does not belong at the school. She just feels average not special. Her new roommate is smart, talented has her own clothes line. When she finds out Abby is not super smart and accomplished. She throws Abby out in the hall and all her belongings. Tells the others that she cheated to get in. No one will help her. The school says she is late and will have to sleep in the hall.
Derick fits right in and already starts to make friends. At least she can eat with him and not feel alone. In one class they have a chair in
English lit that one student sits in it reading a book and what they imagine the class sees up on a screen. Abby is the second student in her class and her teacher asks her about secrets and the locket pops up and school rejection letter pops up and Abby quickly stands up and leaves the chair. The first student to sit in it is Carol. Carol talks very fast. She is a kid actor who has starred in some teen internet series.
Carol and Abby because they shared a experience start to be friends. Then when she finds out who Derick is starts to flirt with him at lunch.
Their lockets starts doing something so they go out in the hall and see a message about their grandfather something has happened to him. They rush out to visit him and to see if he is alright. They find out he has been kidnapped and so have their parents. The police come and Abby tells about her locket and key they take it and escort them to school.
They have to solve riddles and clues to find out what has happened to their family. Abby is still getting picked on by her famous first room mate. It teaches a few moments of history in different fun ways, some moral issues with time travel. It is a smart fun adventure series. I hope their are more books to come in the future. I would read more of this series and will look for more books by Chad Morris.
I was given a copy of this book to read and asked to give a honest review of it when finished by Netgalley.
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (March 5, 2013) 256 pages ISBN-10: 1609073266
Posted March 23, 2013
Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of middle grade. I grew out of the stuff long before I hit my teenage years, and have only revisited it for real gems. But, to put it bluntly, I found the Inventor's Secret to be one of these gems.
Chad Morris' characters were remarkably believable and relateable. I've found a big thing that puts me off about middle grade is that the plot, the world, and the adult characters are all painted in a simplified middle gradish way. But in the Inventor's Secret, the adults weren't simplified. They actually acted like adults. Of course the kids still saved the day, but the adults weren't weak or stupid. And, even better, the kids weren't whiny or stupid themselves. Many times, middle grade author's try to emphasis something by emphasizing their characters' reactions to it (The monster is scary because the kids act really scared of it, not because it actually is scary). I'm happy to say, there was none of that in here. In fact, it may have been one of the main character's normalness that really drew me to this book. Abby (Derick's twin and the main focus of the book) is average. She wasn't a genius like her brother, or all the other kids at her school, and she could never think of witty things to say. But she still was a hero, simply because she was willing to work for what she wanted. And even though her brother Derick was a genius, he was lovable too. Originally I thought Carol (Abby's friend) would get annoying, but she didn't. And her same irritating traits added a nice flavor to the characters' interactions.
Characters: 5 Stars
This was not high fantasy, but it was still a fun journey and kept me reading till the end. I appreciated that the world and the plot didn't revolve around the children. Without them, the world would have been destroyed, but they didn't discover some secret power at the last moment or another VooDoo, easy way out. Every victory was won by them as they were. And time travel. I mean come on, what doesn't grab you about that? At first, the plot may sound unoriginal, but Chad Morris succesfully freshens it up.
Plot: 4.5 Stars
Chad Morris has written a fun story with an aspect about it that makes the adventure genuine entertainment. The action/reaction time throughout the book flowed smoothly, and the end tied up satisfactorily while still leading nicely to a sequel. Quite thankfully, Chad Morris lacks the patronizing tone that so many middle grade authors present to their audience. To sum up, I found it an engaging book and, even though much older that middle grade, was able to enjoy it thoroughly.
Style: 4 Stars
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Posted March 23, 2013
Cragbridge Hall Book 1: The Inventor's Secret is about a school for intelligent kids in the year 2074. Here they don't just read about history, they live it! There are so many things in this book that made me wish I could teach at a school like this.They truly make learning fun by being able to virtually experience their lessons.
Our twin protagonists, Abby and Derick, are excited to go Cragbridge Hall, because this is their inventor Grandfather's school. There is an adventure around every corner. Soon the fun turns into a race against the clock, as they have to discover their grandfather's hidden secrets. These secrets could save the lives of their parents and grandfather who have been kidnapped by a very dangerous enemy.The coolest thing in the book is "The Bridge". This is what enables someone to experience history firsthand, and even to ultimately travel in time! I have a particular love for time travel books.
Even though this book is written for a middle grade audience, it doesn't feel like it when you read it. Every age can read and love this book! Though there are great lessons for the reader in this book, they are not preachy or jump out at you. I can't wait to get back on track so I can read it out-loud to my 2nd grade class. I know that they will LOVE it! My own kids are vying to see who can grab it first when I'm done writing this review. This book will someday make a very awesome movie! I predict...yes I'm looking into the future...that this series will become very popular and will find it's own place in literary history. (Review by Sheila S. @ Why Not? Because I Said So!)