Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB'Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries ... and that monsters come in all shapes and forms.
The Boxcar Baby is the first book of the Steel Roots series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
AB’Gale, teen protagonist of J.L. Mulvihill’s The Boxcar Baby, has such a great teen voice, convincingly old-world, occasionally lyrical, determined, decisive and strong. She lives in a world of trains and steam-cars, where the poor are rounded up into “workinhouses” and dark deeds are afoot (or atrain I guess). AB’Gale’s adopted, a foundling from a boxcar, and her adoptive father’s gone missing, leaving the grandmother unable to pay the bills. Suddenly Abby’s safe small world is gone, and this tale tells how a well-centered teen finds her way through an evil system, escapes the threat of the brothel, and gathers a team of similarly wounded girls to her side and to her quest. Workinhouse life is vividly portrayed, evoking tales of Victorian England, just as the father’s inventions evoke thoughts of H. G. Wells. But what has AB’Gale’s father done, where has he gone, and who are all these people searching for him? “Just because you have never seen something does not make it untrue,” says one of AB’Gale’s friends. What great advice for young readers, and what a lovely evocative tale for older readers too. Abby’s voice and adventures remain consistantly interesting, and the occasional odd or repeated word just add to her real-world charm. I could hardly put this book down and now I’m eagerly awaiting book two. Disclosure: The author visited my blog during her book tour and I was given a free ecopy to enjoy.
I want to start off by saying I am so very glad that this is a series. I can not wait to see where the story will head next. This is a YA book but I very much enjoyed it. This one was one I think would be good for anyone 12+. One thing I really loved about this one was it was fast paced and moved quickly. Mulvihill did an amazing job making realistic characters. She wrote in a way that helped us meet and understand the characters. Abby is a kind, spirited girl who embarks on a journey to find her father and figure out how to make things right again. Mulvihill's storytelling is vivid and enthralling. I can see Abby as she train hops across America. As I said this is YA but it is also Steampunk and dystopian. Mulvihill has created a world that is in turmoil and Abby must fight to stay ahead and find her father. Early in the book Abby ends up in a workhouse since her Father was not there to care for her and the experience is a terrible one for Abby but Mulvihill describes it in such a meaningful way. Given a map by a mysterious man and only her papa's spyglass to guide her Abby finds herself fighting to make her way. She makes friends along the way and like a typical teenager has her ups and downs and can even stop to appreciate a cute boy. I think from the start you realize that that Abby should never be underestimated and that Abby will never give up. This is a wonderful story and I can not wait for book two. The cover art and interior art are awesome as well.