The Sinister Secrets of Singe

Pixel+Ink. Jun. 2023. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781645951834.
Gr 4-7–This action-driven read with a steampunk twist finds a boy grappling with the consequences of his parent’s creations (creatures like the spideratus and octochines). Noah, 11, has lived his life in isolation in a house that mysteriously continues to grow nightly with a robot caretaker and his distant mother, whom he refers to as Marie. A tinkerer and an inventor, his projects are taken to a local factory to go into production for some project in Liberty. When his curiosity brings him face-to-face with a hidden test left by his eccentric, exiled father, a series of events is set up that brings him into contact with the crew of The Abbreviated. With them he embarks on a journey to the island of Singe to see the deluded mechanical world his father built during his exile. When Noah and his traveling companions return to Liberty, the danger of the robot creatures follows, and Noah has to use all his wits to devise a solution to save the town and its people. The book introduces a main character who grapples with the choices his parents made in their work while defining his own values and willingness to make sacrifices. Illustrations intermittently appear in the text.
VERDICT A rollicking adventure featuring a lonely, clever boy choosing to take great risks, face family struggles, and forge found family in the face of tremendous obstacles. Recommended for middle grade adventure shelves.

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