Tesla’s Attic by Neil Shusterman and Eric Elfman
Summary from Goodreads: Tesla’s Attic is the first book in a brilliantly imagined and hilariously written trilogy that combines science, magic, intrigue, and just plain weirdness, about four kids who are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla.
After their home burns down, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother, and their father move into a ramshackle Victorian house they’ve inherited. When Nick opens the door to his attic room, he’s hit in the head by a toaster. That’s just the beginning of his weird experiences with the old junk stored up there. After getting rid of the odd antiques in a garage sale, Nick befriends some local kids-Mitch, Caitlin, and Vincent-and they discover that all of the objects have extraordinary properties. What’s more, Nick figures out that the attic is a strange magnetic vortex, which attracts all sorts of trouble. It’s as if the attic itself has an intelligence . . . and a purpose.
Ultimately Nick learns that the genius Nikola Tesla placed the items-his last inventions-in the attic as part of a larger plan that he mathematically predicted. Nick and his new friends must retrieve everything that was sold at the garage sale and keep it safe. But the task is fraught with peril-in addition to the dangers inherent in Tesla’s mysterious and powerful creations, a secret society of physicists, the Accelerati, is determined to stop Nick and alter destiny to achieve its own devious ends. It’s a lot for a guy to handle, especially when he’d much rather fly under the radar as the new kid in town.
My Review: I chose to read this book because it’s set in Colorado Springs and I love to read books set in the town in which I live. I was lucky enough to sit in on a presentation Neil Shusterman and Eric Elfman gave to one our middle schools, which made me want to read it even more.
Once I got into the book, I realized it would also be a good addition to the school library. I have several students who I know will race right through this book. There’s a bit of history, fantasy, science and adventure all mixed together to create an awesome middle grade read. The writing is fast past and will hook even reluctant readers. I’m not only adding it to the library collection, but I’m adding it to the reading list for our 2014-15 Book Detectives (a mock Newbery club). It’s a great read for 5th grade and up. One warning though: the story does include some history, but it is fiction. Be prepared to put your disbelief aside while reading.