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The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black (The Young Inventors Guild #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  157 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
In 1903, five truly brilliant young inventors, the children of the world s most important scientists, are taken from their lives and their parents by the mysterious men in black. They take twelve-year-old Jasper and six-year-old Lucy Modest from London, England; nine-year-old Wallace Banneker from New York, United States; twelve-year-old Noah Canto-Sagas from Toronto, Cana ...more
Paperback, 339 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Bancroft Press
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Feb 21, 2011 Bookworm1858 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, read-2011, sffp
The Atomic Weight of Secrets by Eden Unger Bowditch
Bancroft Press, 2011
339 pages
Middle Grade; Historical; Mystery
3.5/5 stars
First in the Young Inventors Guild

Source: Received a free e-copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Five children (Jasper, his sister Lucy, Wallace, Noah, and Faye) are taken to a schoolhouse farm in Ohio while their brilliant scientist parents are at work with no opportunity to contact them. The wonders of a farm and friendship are not enough to distra
Jun 08, 2011 J.C. rated it really liked it
It’s books like these that allow me to offer a solid example when defending, and recommending young adult fiction to adults.

Considering recent discussions about the increasing darkness of the genre, this story is a welcome diversion and proof of how well it can be done when the author has a solid plot and endearing characters.

It may not satisfy the older portion of the age range who tend to like the popular dark fantasy or steampunk, but for those wanting a good mystery – this is just the book.

Mar 24, 2011 Audrey rated it really liked it
i LOVED this book! I'm going to be honest - what attracted me to this book most in the beginning was the title. I liked how it was long and started off with "the Atomic Weight of Secrets." It sounded mathy to me, and I love math!

It starts when 5 exceptionally brilliant children are, seemingly without warning, separated from their brilliant, scientist parents, and brought to live together. When I started reading it, even though I immediately enjoyed it, it was initially hard for me to tell if it
Mar 13, 2011 Dorcas rated it liked it
Set in the early 20th century, we have a group of genius children plucked from their homes versus a group of sinister seeming "men in black". Part historical fiction, part mystery, with an interesting look at science, this story has many appealing genre points. It is a little heavy handed with the "all children need parents or guidance" message, no matter how smart they are and no matter that those adults seem to keep abandoning them. At times, it even feels as if it were speaking to an adult au ...more
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
Did I enjoy this book: It’s delightful!

The Atomic Weight of Secrets is a yummy treat: it has all the best flavors from series like A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, and The Chronicles of Narnia with just the right amount of uniqueness.
Bowditch’s writing is light and lovely, and her characterization is spot-on. It shouldn’t be praiseworthy, but I’ll admit I was enamored from the beginning simply because it’s clear Bowditch spent some quality time with a grammar text. And, well, I’ll further admit
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Brought to you by guest reviewer Monica

I really truly enjoyed this story. The characters were very well developed with extensive background given for the five children. I am hoping the story of the parents’ connection and why they were away will be revealed in the other two books. I feel the children were slighted by the adults in charge and could have been handled a little better. I do feel the care-giving adults were a little too clueless through much of
Oct 29, 2015 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me a bit to get past the first chapter or two, had to keep rereading them, but once I did, I was hooked. I have a special love for authors that make the effort to give interesting chapter titles, and every chapter had not just an approrpriate title, but also a fun subtitle, with cute tiny illustrations for the title and subtitle, and that really helped. The children were mostly believable characters, though their lives and the story in the book not so much. There were very few things, no ma ...more
Josianne Fitzgerald
I enjoyed this. It's not an instant favorite but i will recommend to children who enjoyed the Benedict Society books. It is similar to those in that the main characters are five children who meet after being abandoned by the mostly scientist parents. All the children and all four sets of parents are brilliant. The parents mysteriously abandon their children to the strange care of the "Men in Black," a series of men dressed completely and often bizarrely in black outfits. The children are convinc ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Martha rated it liked it
When a book is set in 1903 Dayton, Ohio, you expect to meet a pair of famous siblings tinkering away in their bicycle shop. No offense, Dayton, but why set a book there and then otherwise? After nearly 300 pages, The Atomic Weight of Secrets finally fulfilled those expectations, but with unremarkable characterizations that were a let-down rather than helping the book soar.

Along the way, we meet five brilliant children, each the offspring of a world-famous scientist, who have been separated from
Aug 18, 2011 vvb rated it it was amazing
Good start to this trilogy.

Each character is presented well as the story progresses. I liked watching the bonding of the kids as they worked together and puzzled over their predicament.

Meanwhile their genius brains come together to create and invent.

For Alice in Wonderland fans like me, there are mentions and references that blend in well and just tickle.
I read the second of Eden Unger Bowditches Young Inventor’s Guild books recently, and I was hooked. So I immediately ordered a copy of book one.
The Atomic Weight of Secrets, or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black does not disappoint. Steampunk, set in an era of discovery, when railways are new, mills belch smoke, and clockwork fuels intrigue, it brings together five youngsters, with a flavor of Harry Potter or Narnia’s children, steals them from their parents, and sets them up in strange
David Caldwell
I think a lot of people think writing books for kids is easier than writing for adults. In some ways I would have to agree. Kids are easy to please and haven't seen a lot of the tricks so you can get away with more things in kids books.But the challenge comes when you want to write a kids book that is good as any so called adult book. There are plenty of examples of both types of writing for younger folks. Of course, you have the Harry Potter series which exemplifies a kid's book that does not " ...more
Wendy Hines
Jan 16, 2012 Wendy Hines rated it really liked it
I've always been fascinated with science and inventions. I've always said, when I see a new nifty product, why didn't I think of that? I'm still waiting though for someone to invent the backspace button on landline sure would make my flying fingers happy!

Five children from different places in the world are all the children of famous inventors. Jasper and Lucy have a good home life but they really don't have any friends. Everyone at school makes fun of them, including their tea
Mar 08, 2011 Pam rated it liked it
In 1903 five very intelligent children come from around the world and are deposited at Sole Manor Farm, a school outside Dayton, Ohio. They have several things in common: all their parents are well known scientists, they were brought to the school by mysterious men dressed in odd black outfits and now all their parents are missing.

This is the setting of the book as the children try to make sense of their missing parents and the men in black. They fear their parents have been kidnapped and in the
Trupti Dorge
Sep 08, 2011 Trupti Dorge rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even more than I was expecting to. Being a Young Adult mystery novel about 5 young scientists I was sure it had some merits but what I loved the most about the book were the characters. In Atomic Weight of Secrets we have 5 smart, intelligent yet sweet and vulnerable kids from different parts of the world. They have all been mysteriously abandoned by their scientist parents and have been taken to a farm in Dayton, Ohio by some weird and funny looking men dres ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Mar 23, 2011 Christina (A Reader of Fictions) rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book reminded me from the first pages of the Mysterious Benedict Society books by Trenton Lee Stewart (which incidentally are quite delightful). Although different in some aspects, they share the group of young people of immeasurable intelligence, all with their own skill to bring to the task at hand. Fans of the Mysterious Benedict Society should read this now! Non-fans should read both!

Every chapter title begins with a title and then an alternative title, just like book does. Part of me t
Alyssa Archambo
This book is most definitely written for the younger spectrum of the young adult audience. However, I found myself always wondering what was going to happen next, which made me not want to put the book down. There were times when it dragged, but for the most part, I was completely involved in the world that Bowditch has created.

The characters are charming. I fell in love with all of the five young inventors and completely sympathized with their individual worries. What I love about them is that
Jul 04, 2011 Izzy rated it really liked it
The men in black took away five children of famous inventors - Jasper and Lucy Modest, Wallace Banneker, Noah Canto-Sagas, and Faye Vigyanveta - to a small schoolhouse in Dayton, Ohio without any explanation. Not even their teacher, Ms. Brett, knows why. Things only get stranger from there, and the children begin to suspect the men in black have kidnapped their parents. But what if the men aren't trying to hurt them? What if they want to protect them? And... from what?

This is the kind of middle
May 07, 2011 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Five children are brought together on an isolated farm in Ohio. Having been separated from their parents for no reason they can think of, they are confused. Though they quickly develop a fondness for the teacher that they have been provided with, Miss Brett, they remain suspicious of the mysterious men in black who have brought them to this place.

Faye, a thirteen-year-old girl from India, becomes convinced that their parents have been abducted and need to be rescued. While the others, Jasper (12
Lis Carey
Jun 03, 2011 Lis Carey rated it really liked it
Shelves: f-sf
It's 1903, and five children suddenly find themselves and their parents whisked away from their homes all over the world, to Dayton, Ohio, by mysterious men dressed entirely in black. The children are then separated from their parents, and brought together as the only students of Miss Brett, at Sole Manner Farm.

The children's parents are brilliant scientists, and the children themselves--Faye, Jasper, Lucy, Noah, and Wallace--are also budding young brilliant scientists. Miss Brett is startled to
Mari - loves to read
May 05, 2011 Mari - loves to read rated it really liked it
The Atomic Weight of Secrets was a sweet story and a nice beginning to a series.

I was interested in the story from page one but the middle section was a bit too slow for my liking, we got to know how the story began for each of the young inventors. I felt this information could have been implemented better in some other way, perhaps by small flashbacks? It was a little too much to flesh their stories out over so many pages. I think a young reader might struggle to keep their attention span for
May 05, 2011 Donna rated it it was amazing
Science, invention, and mystery come together in this wonderful book by Eden Bowditch. Five children (Jasper, Lucy, Wallace, Noah, and Faye) find themselves in school together, away from their families and friends. Each has a scientific gift, and at first, none of them realized that each is part of an overall puzzle. As they work on their individual experiments, they worry about their families and what has happened to them. The children find enjoyment in each other and in their experiments, but ...more
A Book Vacation
Jun 19, 2011 A Book Vacation rated it it was ok
you have young children, say between second and fifth grade, I highly recommend this novel (for them, or for you to read to them). There are some great themes brought to light, such as the importance of friendship, perseverance, and trust. The descriptions of the men in black will have young readers laughing and yearning for more, as will the dialogue between the characters. I believe children will be captivated by the mysteries in the novel, however, as it is a very long novel, I am not sure ho ...more
Apr 07, 2011 Anaiz rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-on-blog, own
This book was very cute, each chapter had two names in a style similar to the title of the book. There were also little black and white illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. I really enjoyed Ms. Bowditch's writing, I felt like the book was being narrated in a way similar to that of Tim Burton films (with that whimsical male voice). The "Men in Black" as the children call them wear the most bizarre attire imaginable, they wear anything from bunny ears to sombreros to holding a teddy bea ...more
Aug 13, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
The Atomic Weight of Secrets tells the story of five young children who are absolutely brilliant inventors. Torn away from their homes without warning, they are deposited far from home. Mysterious men in black are constantly monitoring them. All they know is that they have one another, and their parents are missing. Sounds like quite a secretive mystery doesn't it?

Let me begin at the beginning, with the characters. Lucy, Jasper, Wallace, Faye and Noah are a motley crew of kids at first. All from
Gina (My Precious Blog)
Initial Thoughts: (Full Review to Post to the My Precious Blog

This book was utterly confusing to me. The length of the book vs the amount of stuffgoing on ( or lack there of) baffled me. For a book which is well over 350 pages, written in a very detailed manor, I just couldn't believe the lack of action. I felt like it took forever to make forward progress and spent most of the time moving laterally. For more than half of the book, I had no idea where the author
Lisa Schensted
in a sentence or so: without warning, five brilliant children are taken from their scientist parents by some very strange men wearing very strange black outfits and are left wondering where their parents are, how they can get back to them, and most importantly - do their parents even want to be found?

Jasper, Lucy, Faye, Wallace and Noah aren't your typical kids from 1903. turns out they're quite brilliant. you could argue it's good genes, given that their parents are all brilliant scientists...o
Apr 09, 2011 Precious rated it really liked it
The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black was an original tale with well-developed, sharp characters. Lucy, Jasper, Wallace, Noah and Faye were left alone without warning and without any explanation. It was good to encounter clever characters that were far from average children. They stood out, knew that they were different and accepted it.

Written well with attention to detail, the story unfolded slowly. For once, I liked how the author took her time. I am used
Aug 09, 2012 Lucy rated it really liked it
I thought this book was really amazing if you could get past the beginning.
The beginning was a bit boring and I had a tiny bit of trouble reading through it.
However, the rest of the book was incredibly interesting if you are interested in science/inventing.
The author really captures the characters' personalities and makes you feel like you know them quite well, they aren't strangers...this is why I enjoyed it so could feel their frustration, sadness, and anger so clearly. The genre i
Tom Franklin
Mar 19, 2011 Tom Franklin rated it it was ok
When the mysterious men in black visit some brilliant scientists, they all pack up their bags and children and head to Ohio. Abruptly, the children are all sent to an odd school in the middle of farm country where the men in black keep an eerie watch over them.

The children, all scientific geniuses on their own, must learn to get along with and trust one another to devise a plan that will allow them to escape and find their parents.

There are additional elements that add to the charm of this story
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Eden Unger Bowditch is the author of the Young Inventors Guild series. Inspired by her son's disappointment in the impossibility of the magic found in young adult novels, Eden wanted totell a story about science—the kind of magic that’s all around, and the kind people can actually do. She hopes that the Young Inventors Guild series will inspire a love for the real magic of science in young adults ...more
More about Eden Unger Bowditch...

Other Books in the Series

The Young Inventors Guild (2 books)
  • The Ravens of Solemano or The Order of the Mysterious Men in Black (The Young Inventors Guild, #2)

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