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The Book of Secrets
ISBN: 9780307976840
Author: Voigt, Cynthia/ Bruno, Iacopo (ILT)
Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc
Published: September 2014
Retail: $16.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 82%
Binding Type: Hardcover
Qty:
Annotation: Investigating a string of vandalisms and arson fires perpetrated by an unknown culprit whose identity is being mysteriously protected by his victims, problem-solver Max Starling risks his life to solve the case while continuing his efforts to rescue his missing parents. By the Newbery Medal-winning author of Dicey's Song. Simultaneous eBook.
Additional Information
Target Grade: 4-6
Grade level: 4-6
Physical Information: 1.50" H x 150.00" L x 5.75" W
Bargain Category: Upper Elementary, Mystery, Middle School, Historical Fiction, Growing Up, Chapter Books, Art/Music, Action & Adventure
Grade level(s): 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring)
The mayor asks young "solutioneer" Max to discover who's behind the city's rash of vandalism. Meanwhile, Max's parents appear to be acting as royalty in a tiny (fictional) South American country. Voigt's talent for balancing various narrative threads ensures that any one subplot can take the lead and then recede without losing tension. Bruno's black-and-white pencil and ink drawings entertainingly highlight Max's disguises.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring)
Max Starling is looking forward to his family's trip to India. On the day of embarkation, however, he arrives at the dock to find his parents gone and no record of their ship. Max vows to discover what happened while supporting himself as a problem-solver and missing-object-finder--a "solutioneer." Max is a thoughtful and low-key hero in this entertaining trilogy-starter.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #6)
Max Starling, an independent twelve-year-old who was seemingly abandoned by his parents in Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things (rev. 9/13), returns with his costumes and disguises to take on more jobs in his self-created occupation of "solutioneer." Having learned that his parents, both performers, are now acting as royalty in the tiny (fictional) South American country of Andesia, Max writes them a letter posing as a curious seven-year-old girl, but the polite response he receives seems to be in code. Meanwhile, Max's work in Queensbridge gets a boost when the mayor, nervous in advance of the king's annual visit, asks the young solutioneer to discover who is behind the rash of fires and vandalism plaguing the city. Max fairly easily uncovers the cause -- a gang of boys demanding protection money -- but then gets in over his head. Voigt's talent for balancing various narrative threads (Max also helps a lonely boy, a worried father, and a lovesick ferryman) ensures that any one subplot can take the lead and then recede without losing tension. Bruno's black-and-white pencil and ink drawings depict the grand cast of characters and entertainingly highlight Max's theatrical disguises. Most engagingly, the value of sustained creative thought is given pride of place in this volume, which promises even greater adventures in the projected next entry. anita l. burkam Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #5)
Max Starling, son of thespians William and Mary Starling, is looking forward to his family's trip to India to perform at the invitation of an enthusiastic maharaja. On the day of embarkation, however, he arrives at the dock to find his parents gone and no record of their ship. At first confounded (and more than a little worried that his parents have forgotten -- or even purposefully ditched -- him), Max soon rallies and vows to discover what happened to them. Determined to be independent, even from his librarian grandmother, Max looks for ways to support himself in the meantime, but no one is hiring until the day Max reunites a roaming toddler with his mother. The grateful woman not only pays him but recommends him to her friends, launching Max's career as a problem-solver and missing-object-finder, or, in his words, a "solutioneer." Max is a thoughtful and low-key hero, applying his analytical mind to problems not only involving missing heirlooms and family quarrels but also a dog's happiness and how to paint the wind. Although the parents' disappearance is underdeveloped, the entertaining and varied "solutioneering" episodes come together neatly at the climax. A final chapter gives Max his first solid lead in his parents' case, providing, at last, a launching point for what should be an exciting next volume in the projected trilogy. Final art unseen. anita l. burkam Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2013 July #2)

A mysterious invitation to establish a theatrical troupe in India starts off the action in the first book in a trilogy from Newbery Medalist Voigt, set in the early 1900s. Max Starling's actor parents set sail (or do they?) for the new opportunity, accidentally (or not?) leaving him behind. Frightened and slightly hurt by their abandonment, yet determined to solve the mystery of their disappearance and maintain his independence, 12-year-old Max searches for income-earning opportunities and stumbles into detectivelike work—finding a lost dog, a missing antique silver spoon, and (secretly) reuniting two lost lovers. Max creates different characters for each of his missions, with appropriate costumes from his parents' trunks, and encounters the requisite eclectic characters, all well-drawn by Voigt. Max has a good heart and a sharp mind, with enough self-doubt to be credible, and his adventures, while not deeply suspenseful, build in complexity and develop Max's maturity; Voigt's accomplished writing draws readers into every aspect of his world. A double-edged ending solves one big mystery while setting the stage for a new one. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 September)

Gr 5–8—The plot thickens and the problems proliferate in Voigt's trilogy about a 12-year-old who is determined to be the master of his own fate, despite the mysterious disappearance of his parents. As in the first book, Max doesn't confine himself to discovering what has befallen his mother and father, but at the behest of the mayor, he looks into acts of vandalism and arson which have been plaguing certain neighborhoods of his city. Several of the characters met in the previous volume insist on inserting themselves into Max's "solutioneering" business, and despite his initial reluctance to accept their help, they prove themselves to be valuable allies. Max makes good use of the costumes in his parents' theater and his own acting skills get a good workout as he investigates incognito. There are moments of peril and anxiety leavened with broad humor. The hero can solve the problems close to hand, but we sense that every friend he's made will be needed to bring his parents (whose situation seems increasingly dire) safely home. Voigt's faux-melodramatic plot points ensure that none of these adventures will be taken too seriously, but readers will eagerly await the revelations of the third installment and hope they won't have long to wait for its publication.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY

[Page 135]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2013 July)
Gr 5–8—Admirers of Voigt's "Tillerman" series (S & S) will recognize several plot points in this first volume of a proposed trilogy: a child is seemingly deserted by his parents and survives with the support of his grandmother. But there the similarities end, for this is a mystery-cum-adventure story with a 19th-century feel and an accumulation of improbabilities that build to a satisfyingly melodramatic climax. As Maximilian Starling wends his way around his nameless city trying to find an honest day's work, he stumbles across a series of people with problems, unanswered questions, unsatisfied longings, or vague states of malaise. And then there are the sinister types who seem intent on breaking into Max's house. What are they looking for? Fortunately, Max's parents were theatricals, which gives him both an intimate knowledge of roles to assume while pretending to be old enough for employment and an ample supply of costumes in which to disguise himself. Whether it's finding a good home for a lost dog, facilitating the reunion of disappointed lovers, or recovering a long-lost heirloom, Max displays good sense, a sensitive nature, and winning ingenuity. He resists being labeled a detective and since he merely guides people toward the resolution of their troubles, it's fitting that he calls himself a "solutioneer." By book's end, however, he has not answered his own questions. Readers still don't know what has happened to his parents, for example. This will likely leave them strangely contented, knowing that Voigt has so much more to reveal in the sequels to this comedic page-turner.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY. Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.