Although not an action-packed story, this book is nonetheless full of quick wits, realistic adventures, mystery, reading, problem-solving, courage, and unlikely friendship. It's got a little of everything, and a bit of something more: Wonder and Genius. Can you tell I am a big fan of Trenton Lee Stewart?
When you begin this book, you meet young Nicholas, the precocious orphan with a remarkable memory who is just heading to his last-chance home, a very odd and problematic mansion full of mean boys and inattentive caretakers. Before long, Nicholas puts his impressive mental talents to the challenge of solving a decades-old mystery before his arch-nemesis, and to the ultimate goal of getting himself out of this dead-end life and into a successful path to a rich, orphanage-free future. Of course, nothing in this poor boy's life is easy, and this task may be his most difficult and hopeless yet. Or not.
Mr. Stewart's latest book is a wonderful balance of just about everything, and is a must-read for anyone who's read his series, and even those who have not. Like any of Roald Dahl's best work, this book is a stand-alone, unforgettable novel of an extraordinary boy whose pluck and wits help him make the best out of a troublesome life. Go read it.