Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell (4/5 stars)

This was a very cute and humorous read. I thought it was a charming book; it reminds of many other books that involve child geniuses dealing with distant parents (Artemis Fowl, A Taste of Red, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and Theodosia).

Christina lives in a old house on the border of a forest that is home to a secret lab that her father works at. Her father tries to be a good dad but is more concerned with mathematics and seclusion of his daughter (for her safety) than Christina's experience with the outside world. Christina's mother was "blown to bits" in her laboratory and her father has become overprotective since these events. Christina wants nothing more than to escape and find the secret tunnel that leads into the forest. With the help of an orphan boy she does. Then she finds out that nothing that is happening in her family or town is quite as it seems.

This was a fun book. It had me laughing out loud a number of times. It was a quick read, the was fast paced and really drew you through the book. The characters were likable; even Christina's father is easy to identify with and understand. The plot itself it fairly predictable but this doesn't detract from a good story. Some of the ideas, mainly song and pitch being used to power things, are very creative and interesting to read about.

As far as the age-group for this book, I think it could be read to younger children. There are some scarier parts but nothing too horrible.

I don't have any major complaints. The story is pretty focused on a small series of events; so no huge attention to world-building. The real strengths are in characterization and writing a good mystery/adventure.

Overall a good read. I liked the humor throughout and enjoyed the story.

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