Tesla's Attic (The Accelerati Trilogy, book one)
By Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman
Published 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
After a terrible tragedy, Nick and his family move into an old house they've inherited. Of course, it's just their luck that the attic is full of strange old junk. So, they have a garage sale. But Nick soon discovers that the strange old junk is something more - that it may have strange powers and may have once belonged to the great inventor, Nikola Tesla.
Ooh boy, this is the problem with being far behind on reviews - it's been six months since I read this one and I've having trouble recalling all the details. I remember that I was initially excited because it was Neal Shusterman and science fiction for middle grade readers. I'm a big fan of Shusterman's Unwind series and I was excited to see what he would do for the younger set.
Turns out, I had reason to be excited. This book is a fast-paced, exciting adventure that will keep readers on the edge of their seat the whole way through. While some parts of it felt clunky (the way Nick's friendships develop sticks out in my mind), on the whole, the book reads like one action-packed mystery. I think my favorite part was discovering the different properties the various devices had - I loved finding out their secrets and imagining what I would do with them. I also really loved the scene towards the end of the book when one of the characters knows that a tragedy is about to occur. This character wants to stop the tragedy, but when arriving on the scene, it's almost impossible to discern which of the potential catastrophes will turn into the foreseen tragedy. It's a really fascinating piece of writing there and it works incredibly well.
Like many of the middle-grade books I've read more recently, this book taps into the hunger for STEM-focused reads and I think it does it well. I admit that my knowledge of science is terribly limited, but this book definitely had me interested in Tesla and his experiments.
Of course, this is only the first book in a series, so many questions still linger after you reach the final page. I think kids will be eager to get their hands on book two - I know I'm waiting!
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.