Wednesday, March 17, 2010
May 2010 • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt • Ages 10 and up
"This is one of those books that's a delight from start to finish, quirky but grounded, with characters you'll fall in love with." -- Charles de Lint, author of Little (Grrl) Lost and The Blue Girl
Story: Strange things can happen at a crossroads, and the crossroads outside of Arcane, MO, is no exception. 13-year-old Natalie Minks knows all the odd, mysterious tales about her little town -- she grew up hearing her mother tell them. But even Natalie is not prepared for the strangeness that's unleashed when Doctor Hake Limberleg's Nostrum Fair and Technological medicine Show rolls into town with its bizarre tonics and elaborate, inexplicable machines.
Natalie loves machines. She's fascinated by mechanical things of all sorts -- especially automata like the little clockwork flyer her dad is helping her build. And when she finally gets a close look at the machines within the intricate maze of the medicine show, she knows in her gut that something about this caravan of healers is not right... and that Arcane is in grave danger.
Story behind the story: This story about family, community, courage and the necessity of looking evil directly in the face to conquer it is Kate Milford's first novel. And it's getting some enthusiastic pre-publication buzz like this from Colleen Mondor at ChasingRay.com: "I am reading Kate Milford's The Boneshaker and all of you who have heard early Newbery [Award] rumblings about this one would do well to heed them. It certainly has some Bradbury (ala Something Wicked This Way Comes) touches, but also a delightful bit of Wright Brothers bicycle invention/repair, Robert Johnson at the crossroads and Dewey Kerrigan (via The Green Glass Sea). I am most pleased with this one (about one third of the way through) and will have a review in my May column."