Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart, illustrations by Diane Sudyka - ADVISABLE

Stewart, Trenton Lee.  The Secret Keepers, illustrated by Diane Sudyka.  501 pages.  Megan Tingley Books (Little Brown and Company), 2016.  $18.99.  Language: G (2 swears), Sexual Content: G, and Violence: PG. 

Reuben’s town is run by the Directions who work for The Smoke.  His mom works two jobs and they can barely make rent.  While she’s at work, Reuben is good at keeping out of sight.  One day, he climbs a building and sits on a ledge.  He sees something in the brick.  He pulls it out the bit of leather and finds an antique watch with a key.  The inscription on the watch is Property of P. Wm. Light.  Reuben tries to sell the watch, but realizes that it is something special.  When he puts the key in the watch to wind it, he goes invisible—blind and invisible.  The Smoke wants the watch and Reuben has to hide.  He follows the clue from the inscription to meet Penny Meyer.  She tells them the story of her ancestor who owned his watch and why The Smoke wants the watch.  Together, with the help of her brother Jack, they plan to stop The Smoke and save the city. 

Reuben is an unlikely hero on a grand adventure.  He’s a shy, likeable kid, that loves his mom and dreams of a better life.  Over the course of the story, his character develops from a mouse to a confident young man.  Penny Meyer creates a strong female protagonist who is smart and adventurous.  The secondary characters are also well developed.  His mom’s character is a spunky, hard-working, and funny.  The entire Meyer clan is a hilarious bunch of strictly upright individuals.  The Smoke is devious, but not too dastardly.  The black and white illustrations added to the spooky, mysterious tone of the novel.  The plot had a few exciting twists, but overall the pacing felt slow.

EL-ADVISABLE.  Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS. 

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