When his family moves back to his father’s hometown, 10-year-old Stuart Horten prepares himself for a long, boring summer. Without school he doesn’t even have a way to make new friends, unless he’s forced to hang out with the nosy triplets from next door. But an accident involving a decrepit phone booth reveals a family mystery that’s been dormant almost 60 years. After a factory fire, Stuart’s great-uncle --- a magician --- disappeared. Following a string of clues, hidden within a series of coin-operated machines, Stuart uncovers his family’s history and hopes to find the secret workshop his great-uncle is rumored to have left behind.

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans is the kind of book I loved to read as a child. As my own home was disappointingly free of secret passages, I never tired of reading about them in books. Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms is the perfect blend between ordinary circumstances and extraordinary events, making the whole adventure seem plausible within the everyday world. The book’s author, Lissa Evans, has a deft touch with the world as seen by a child. Stuart must learn to navigate not only the streets of a new town, but also the people he finds there.


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