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The Secret of Zoom
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The Secret of Zoom

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  792 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Christina lives in a big, old stone mansion on the edge of a dark forest surrounded by barbed wire. Deep within the forest is the laboratory where her father works—and where her mother was blown to bits years ago. Christina’s father knows just how dangerous the world can be, so he keeps her safe at home, forbidding her from talking to the very interesting orphans down the...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Square Fish (first published September 1st 2009)
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Maria
Fast paced story filled with action and adventure. Christina seeks out adventure, longing to move beyond her over protected environment. Music is a key element to the story, which added a fun aspect. There were some science fiction elements, but I would classify this more as an adventure read.

One thing to pick at, though. Christina is amazing, inventive, and smart. Yet she spends the entire book whining about how much she doesn't like math and considers it "too hard". While I get that not every...more
Kate
This was another fun YA book from our library. I really loved the main character, Christina. She is smart, clever, brave - a great heroine. The story has an interesting science-y theme and both her parents are scientists - also good for encouraging girls to get into maths and science.

I found the story pretty entertaining. Sometimes there was a lot of detail and so I skimmed a bit (bah, detail :) but it moved pretty quickly. I would probably rate it a 3.5. I don't know if it would be a book I wou...more
Jen B.
The Secret of Zoom is a read that you have to stick with, in my opinion, to really "get". I started reading this with my group of fourth grade boys at a really bad time of the year. We were constantly being interrupted for long periods of time because of things like spring break, testing, etc. I had a hard time following the story and keeping the characters straight - especially Leo and Lenny. However, the boys loved it and always seemed to remember what had happened and what we were waiting to...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Christina lives in a stone mansion in a forest surrounded by a 20 foot barbed wire fence. The fence is electric and has signs that say “Trespassers will be boiled.” The only other buildings inside the fence are Loompski Laboratories, where her father works (and where her mother died in a lab explosion) and an orphanage full of kids Christina is not allowed to meet. With binoculars Christina can watch the kids at Dorf Elementary school play at recess, but she’s never been to school herself.

While...more
The Rusty Key
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Jordan B. Nielsen

Recommended for: Both boys and girls, aged 8 and Up. The suspense, action and variety of characters have broad appeal. Light suggestions of violence makes it better suited for older readers.

One Word Summary: Zippy

Many of us remember the fun of reading ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books when we were young. There was something so satisfying about guiding the story to meet your own level of excitement. Do you want to explore the haunted forest? Or woul...more
Kelly Butcher
I ran to the book store to buy this book when I learned that President Obama bought it for his daughter at a local Iowa City book store! I love this book- and know that kids grade 4- up will too.

Christina lives in an old mansion with her over protective, scientist father. Christina's mother was blown to bits while doing an experiment when Christina was only a baby. Since her mother's death, her father has kept her under his watchful eye- although he has no time or ability to comfort her or commu...more
Tami
I have been looking forward to reading The Secret of Zoom, having read Ms. Jonell’s earlier book Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (a GEM for 3rd & 4th graders as a read-aloud or independent read). I am just as excited about Zoom as I was about Emmy!

Christina Adnoid is ten years old and lives with her father, the head scientist at Loompski Laboratories. She knows her mother, also a scientist, was blown up in a Laboratory accident when Christina was just three years old. She has never bee...more
Karissa
This was a very cute and humorous read. I thought it was a charming book; it reminds of many other books that involve child geniuses dealing with distant parents (Artemis Fowl, A Taste of Red, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and Theodosia).

Christina lives in a old house on the border of a forest that is home to a secret lab that her father works at. Her father tries to be a good dad but is more concerned with mathematics and seclusion of his daughter (for her safety) than Christina's exp...more
Eva Mitnick
I was ready to really like this book, having enjoyed the quirkiness of Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat and its sequel, Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls, not to mention their pro-rat stance, a rare quality indeed. But although Zoom was fast-paced, with plenty of adventure and danger, it left me rather cold.

The problem for me was that while there were plenty of standard characters (sheltered yet plucky heroine, dead mom, distant dad, prickly yet vulnerable boy, orphans in danger, truly a...more
Jackie
Christina Adnoid lives in a stone, Gothic-like mansion surrounded by forests and mountain ridges. Her father, Dr. Wilfer Adnoid is the chief scientist at Loompski Laboratories, a renowned scientific enterprise. Just outside the mansion is home to the Loompski Orphanage which, from afar, Christina imagines the happy orphans learning, playing, and working day after day. After all, Christina is lonely and sad, being home schooled with no friends to play with each day. She is forbidden to go outside...more
Charlyn  Trussell
Christina is never allowed to leave the grounds on which her home stands, a protective measure of her father's doing after her mother was killed in an explosion. Then a chance meeting with Taft, an orphan who picks up garbage, causes her to once again look for a secret tunnel entrance in the old mansion. The tunnel she locates in the attic leads her to the orphanage and the children she is forbidden to meet. But Christina is intrigued with Taft and she rescues him and takes him home to be her pa...more
Susan Morris
I loved it! This book, nominated for the 2011-12 Mark Twain Award in Missouri, is a great read! I predict the kids will love it, and it will make a great read aloud in class. Christina's father is the head scientist for Loompski Labs and so was her mother until she was killed in a laboratory blast, or so Christina has been told. Christina, who is overly protected by her father, lives in an old stone mansion surrounded by electrified barbed wire, and is not allowed to attend public school, talk t...more
Ashleigh
This is my review of THE SECRET OF ZOOM!!!! THE SECRET OF ZOOM is amazing. Here is an over view of what the books about: its about the main character christina and she only has a dad and her mother was "blowen to bits" when christina was just a baby. and her father dosen't let her talk to any of the interesting orphans down the road but when an orphan boy named taft talks to her wispering of a secret tunnel she forgets about safety and helps him escape. and they find out that there is much more...more
Suz
Score another good recommendation for my friend, Grace Campbell. When I told her I was choosing books from the library to take home and read over the summer, she said I should read this one. The title is misleading because there are actually many secrets in the story. What caused the lab accident that took Christina's mother? What is her dad so afraid of that he won't let her leave the house? Why is the head of the orphanage having the kids sort out plastic toys from the town's trash and even bu...more
ROBYN
I was pleasantly surprised when I finished this book. I work at a library so I try to read as many of the award books as I can. In Missouri we have a Mark Twain award and this was one of the nominations for the year. The Mark Twain award books are middle school aged and often times I feel like the book is extremely below me and I consider it an extremely fluffy read. I thought this author did an amazing job of not talking down to her readers and I would guess that many children that read this en...more
Angie
This is a fun adventure mystery story with a bit of fantasy thrown in for fun. It will appeal to elementary age boys and girls alike. Reading it as an adult I had to suspend my disbelief at times but I don't think kids will have that problem. I think they will like the fact that Christina has to solve all the problems on her own and that all the adults are completely absent from her life. After all that is what makes the adventure so much fun. There is a nice push for education in the book...kin...more
Phoebe
Jonell's 3rd book about kids who must rely on their own wits to escape from danger is so far her best, in my opinion. Christina, daughter of Loompski Laboratories' top physicist, is protected and privileged but longs for companionship and adventure. She finds it after meeting Taft, one of the Happy Orphans (who actually appear to be starved, abused, and do all the garbage pickup for the town), who urges her to seek out the near-mythical escape tunnel located somewhere in her house. The ensuing a...more
J.F.
This book has made it to the 2011-2012 Sunshine State Young Readers Award List. I read it last year and really enjoyed it. This is an excellent tale of children finding their power and their voices. In its all too real depiction of a world in which not every adult has the best interests of children in mind, The Secret of Zoom is a fantasy story about hope, friendship, family, and a secret to be unearthed. This book will be appealing to both boys and girls- kids who like science, mystery, music,...more
Cera
This was a fun quick read. It had friendships and evil villains, secret passageways,and crazy inventions. The story was fresh and unpredictable.
Faith
Christina has never gone to school. She is never allowed to leave the old, stone mansion that she lives in, except for one hour a day. One day while outside she speaks to an orphan named Taft. She helps him escape from the orphanage and they discover there is much more to the orphanage, Loompski Labs and Chirstina's mother's supposed death. And they discover the secret of Zoom.

Reasons why I like this book-

Reason 1- It made me grateful for being able to go to school and to have friends.

Reason 2-...more
Maggiemyre
Might be a good read aloud...but probably better read for students grades 4-6. Good mystery, adventure story.
Karen Arendt
Spunky and determined Christina meets an orphan and helps him escape. The orphans are used to mine zoom, an explosive yet powerful fuel source found in the mountains. Of course the orphans are treated horribly, so Christina decides to help rescue them. Her father is overprotective (and works for Zoompski Labs- the evil orphanage patron) and her mother was blown up in a lab explosion. There is plenty of adventure to keep kids interested, plus children will be able to relate to Christina and Taft,...more
Caroline S.
I read this in fifth grade and I really liked it, it's fast-paced and had several interesting plot twists.
Ms. B
Orphans + a girl being raised by her father + alternative energy sources + singing = The Secret of Zoom
If you like unusual fast-paced stories with lots of plot twists, you will like this story about Christina who befriends Taft, an orphan. Soon she is introduced to several more orphans and zoom, a top secret energy source that only she seems to be able to control by her singing. Will Christina be able to find out what really happened to her mother? Will Taft find his real parents? What about the...more
Connie
I was lucky to get a chance to read the advanced readers copy of Lynnne Jonell's book which comes out in Sept. Jonell once again weaves a charming and humorous fantasy for children grades 4-6 which does not disappoint. I prefer her earlier book Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Secret of Zoom to any child who enjoys her writing. Once again its focus is upon a plucky young heroine (not Emmy) and her adventures as she tries to right the wrongs of yet an...more
Ingrid
This book is described as a mystery involving strange explosions, hidden tunnels and singing orphans. It was all of that and much more. Christina lives with her father in a mansion and leads a very sheltered and lonely life. She is not allowed to go to school or play with the village children. Christina wonders what her father is protecting her from and after she meets one of the orphans she discovers all sorts of strange things that occur at Loompski Labs where her father works. I really enjoye...more
Molly K
loved the beggining. not such a fan of the end, though.
Jay
This book full of secrets and hard decisions is great for a read-aloud. The plot moves along at a good rate and even seemingly good decisions sometimes go wrong (there's always another obstacle to overcome), keeping the listener involved, but there are a lot of ethical issues to discuss here, too. I feel like this is a book I'll be referring to in conversations with my kids for the next few months at least. The action and some characters may be cartoon-like at times, but it's a cartoon over the...more
Mrs. Miller
Definitely a different type of fantasy book! A little slow in the beginning but then it really picked up. I will book talk this one soon!
Kelly Bryson
Great book for older elementary. Christina is a ten year old girl who lives in a nearly empty mansion. Her father, a famous scientist, is terribly overprotective and keeps her isolated, until one day she meets a boy from the orphanage. Adventures ensue. She learns more about her mother's death and the energy source found in the mountain rocks nearby, called zoom, and also learns what compassion is and to never give up. Delightful book, recommended to me by my 9 year old son. He gave it 5 stars,...more
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Lynne Jonell is the author of three novels and seven picture books for children, published by Henry Holt and Penguin/Putnam. Her first novel, Emmy & the Incredible Shrinking Rat, won the Minnesota Book Award, and her most recent novel, The Secret of Zoom, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Her books have received starred reviews in Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Publisher...more
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