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Mad Science Institute

(Mad Science Institute #1)

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  41 reviews
ASIN B006KGNKMS moved to the most recent edition here

Sophia "Soap" Lazarcheck is a girl genius with a knack for making robots-and for making robots explode. After her talents earn her admission into a secretive university institute, she is swiftly drawn into a conspiracy more than a century in the making. Meanwhile and without her knowledge, her cousin Dean wages a two-fis
Kindle Edition, 1.1 edition, 310 pages
Published December 9th 2011 by Siege Tower Entertainment (first published December 6th 2011)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  288 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Coyora Dokusho
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this with my entire heart and soul. The mad science was delicious! The characters were great and the plot was interesting!!! If you liked this one you'd probably also like The Department of Cautionary Tales and Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a fun book about a school for up-and-coming mad scientist teens with nifty-cool-bean technology inspired by real life Nicolai Tesla. It has two main characters and the point-of-view switches back and forth between them every other chapter. One is an adult male, the other a teen girl, and I liked that that made it neither YA nor adult fiction, but a mixture of both. The finale was a slamming collision of all the parts of the story brought together for all-out mayhem and very exciting.

I read this to determine if it was appropriate for my daughter. It's well written for YA. A little sexy stuff, but not too horribly much. The main GLARING error: "Generically enhanced insect." Ummmm... That one was funny. ...more
Kelly Hatcher
May 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
The write-up and all of the reviews made this sound so awesome. I gave it a good try but after 8 chapters with nothing but The Drama every chapter I gave up. There's no time for anything interesting to happen because there has to be something eventful every time you turn around. ...more
Matt Reno
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
YA fiction with sci fi elements. Descent characters but not a lot of character growth
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Expertly written. Soap is my favorite character EVER! Who knew circuitry and robots could be this fun? This book seriously blew all of my expectations out of the water. I openly acknowledged being a reluctant science-fiction reader, but Mad Science Institute is changing that and I cannot wait to read more.

The stilted dialogue in the beginning was imperative in creating Soap's shy and awkward character. Through the narration, we know she is a typical teenager, but struggles to outwardly make conn
D.L. Morrese
I like the idea of this book — a YA story premised on science rather than magic, with smart, young adult heroes, passionate about learning and discovery who find themselves in an environment where they can pursue their interests. It reminded me a bit of another book I read and reviewed not long ago, Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks. There should be more stories in settings like this.

The plot of this one is the classic ‘good guys versus bad guys bent on taking over the world.’ The pacing is good, w
Rachel Barnard
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“that’s the fun part about science: there are always mysteries to unravel.” (Page 123).

Sophie grew up in a world where electronics were readily available and her failed science experiments were continuously cleaned up by her father. After destroying the science fair and her chances of getting into a top school like MIT, Soap accepts her application to the Mechanical Science Institute in small town Bugswallow, Minnesota. Her cousin, Dean is waiting to meet her there, as he just accepted a positio
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was happily surprised with this book! Soap is as queer as her inventions, and her life just got queerer when she is offered a full scholarship at the Mechanical Science Institute (the unofficial but more popular name being the Mad Science Institute). The school is located in a weirdly named town of Bugswallow, Minesotta. There, Soap adds to the grand total number of MSI students: 3 ! Soap tries to fit in with the other two geniuses Viktor and Nikki, even as she discovers the big & secret exper ...more
Connie Jasperson
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have been catching up on my long-put off reading, starting with a book by fellow Northwest indie author Sechin Tower, Mad Science Institute . I had a great time reading this particular YA novel.

But first, The Blurb:
Sophia “Soap” Lazarcheck is a girl genius with a knack for making robots—and for making robots explode. After her talents earn her admission into a secretive university institute, she is swiftly drawn into a conspiracy more than a century in the making. Meanwhile and without her kn
Julie Wenzel
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It’s been a while since I read a young adult novel, and I am so glad I did here. Mad Science Institute was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the ride while it lasted.

The story is of 16 year old Soap, who is exceptionally smart for her age, but a little bit of an awkward teenager. But what she lacks in social skills she makes up for ten fold with her inventions, brains, and heart. She is admitted to the Mad Science Institute at a young age, and for a while feels kind of like an outsider to all the old
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: media-ebooks
I rarely had such great difficulty in rating a book.

The best thing about this book is the main character, Sophie, called "Soap", a 16-year-old high school student. Sophie is a brilliant inventor in the field of electrical engineering. Imagine a kind of mixture of Doc Brown (Back to the Future) and Lisbeth Salander (Millennium Trilogy) with a pinch of MacGyver (TV Series). Reading about her, is the purest pleasure. Hilarious! About half of the book is told in first-person from the perspective of
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
(I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.)

While this book is well-written, I had several problems with it. The heroine “Soap” was unreasonably naive. She receives ten thousand dollars in cash for a job and believes it to be a student job. I have a hard time believing even a naive girl genius would think that. She was not only extremely naive, she was also very awkward and immature.

I had less of a problem with Dean. Although I did find it hard to swallow that he’d propose to an e
Eric Dunn
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Mad Science Institute was a fun read for me. It was a very easy book to just sit down and get into. I feel like Mr. Tower has crafted a very thoughtful and well written book.

Plot: The plot was very well done in this book. It's a deviation from just about everything else that's out there right now. I like the fact that Mr. Tower went out on a limb and created something that isn't popular in the mainstream right now. There aren't a lot of folks talking about mad scientists trying to take over
Chelo Biggerstaff
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Grr. My computer lost my review when I was almost done, so this may not be as comprehensive as it was going to be.)

Sophia "Soap" Lazarcheck is the ultimate tech-nerd. She's not good with people and she's blown up so many things that her dad is in debt. When she gets a full-ride scholarship to The Mad Science Institute, it seems like the solution to her problems. When her cousin, Dean, takes over as the Dean of Students, though, she starts to doubt she belongs there.

Regardless of her doubts-- an
Lee French
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fast-paced and entertaining, this modern take on the mad scientist is a love letter to Nikola Tesla. I loved this book, the characters, and the action. I'd call it a wonderful summer beach read, something to delight without heavy, thought-provoking content.

Soap is enchantingly naive and full of frenetic energy. She makes a charming narrator, one whose mistakes are so painful to watch that I wanted to smack her at times. Dean, the firefighting action hero, provides an excellent foil for her youth
D.M. Dutcher
A fun romp in a world full of super scientists, ancient civilizations, chupacabras, plots to rule the world, and the perils of being a college dean.

Sophia is a 16 year old genius with the bad habit of making her latest experiments explode. One such failure puts her father in debt to the point of eviction. Luckily she's won a scholarship to a college in a town lovingly named Bugswallow. She's now part of what is called the Mad Science Institute, along with fellow teen scientists Viktor and Nikki.
May 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Just like science, some things sound very good in theory but the reality is a letdown. I really wanted to like this book; it's billed as a Harry Potter based in science and not magic, and the protagonist is female (we all know Hermione was far more interesting than Harry). But this book had no sense of wonder, there was nothing unique or compelling - dare I say magical? - about the world in which Sophia finds herself. Even though there is a pleasant little science-based appendix, the actual stor ...more
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
I started this book wanting to like it. It had solid reviews it seemed. It sounded like a book I would like. However this time a book with 60 ish reviews all positive failed to deliver. This will put all the other reviews into question.

I found a book full of pseudoscience, wrong science, and an author who felt the need to bludgeon an explanation of his one bag trick (the EMP) into the readers heads every few paragraphs. He also manages to get the explanation and expect results and uses of this i
Craig D
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book with some definite laugh out loud moments. Full of action, mystery, science, and awkward teenage moments, it was a good read.

I'm an elementary language arts teacher, so I'm always reading good youth fiction. I had a hard time putting a finger on the intended age bracket for this book. It was definitely would be above an upper elementary level, so I would place it as middle school or lower high school.

The main character is a 16 year old girl who gets an early acceptance in
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book.

A young girl who's a a big klutz, invents a robot dog, messes up at a science fair and manages to get accepted into the Mechanical Science Institute aka "Mad Science Institute".

The school is in trouble and has only 3 students. It has to acquire more students and staff or risk closing for good.

An evil villain is trying to take over the world by getting access to a secret held at the school that will give him the power to destroy technology. He recruits Sofia's help while she is
I have to admit, I really like this book. Sophia "Soap" Lazarcheck is geeky, clumsy and socially-awkward, but has the brains to create world-changing machines. She finds herself a pawn to a madman called "The Professor" and a member of a secret college where kid-geniuses rule. She has to overcome all her fears, the least of which is a germ-covered wad of gum(one of my favorite scenes for some reason), to stop the Professor from doing massive damage to life on Earth. In the midst of it all, she h ...more
Elizabeth Jane
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, sci-fi
MSI sucked me in very quickly. I love learning while also being entertained (I don't ask for much, do I?) and this book hit the spot for that! I even had to "Wiki" search a couple things just for more background information! Sophia (Soap as everyone calls her) is an extremely lovable and goofy character. You find yourself cheering for her right away! There was romance, thrills, action, food for thought, and tons of humor in this book. the end was a cliffhanger so I'm anxiously awaiting the seque ...more
A.G. Lindsay
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sf, ya
Fun read. Enjoyed the lead character "Soap" and her fellow students. Not particularly interested in the political mechanations of the "big college" and the "little institute."

Unfortunately, the best character was killed early on and we have to do with her on again/off again boyfriend (also Soap's cousin) as the "adult supervision."

The plot is imaginative (the Institute was founded by Telsa) and I like how so many strong female characters (both "good" and "bad") embrace science and technology.

I w
Ted Mathews
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
First Suspend Your ...

First Suspend Your ...

Unlikely, improbable, impossible, etc. etc. etc. All of these terms apply to the plot, characters and science offered in this story. But, interesting, exciting and entertaining also fit.

It was easy to like the people, even with their foibles and eccentricities. If fact largely because of them.

Once you accept that you should let go of your preconceptions about everything, you will enjoy the ride with the author's imagination.

Sofia, a/k/a "Soap", is a budding scientist and at the age of 16 is given a full ride scholarship to Mechanical Science Institute (a/k/a Mad Science Institute). SMI, located in Bugswallow, MN was founded by Soap's idol, Nikola Tesla and funded by Mark Twain. Scoially awkward and naive, Soap blows things up more often than not and puts her skills to good use when the mad professor seeks to complete his Doomsday Machine and destory earth forever. An easy, entertaining read. ...more
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this one. It had really strong young female characters using their brains and science and I really liked that a lot. There was lots of thriller type espionage and adventure story action. There were twists and turns and surprises. Did I mention that I loved it? I'm really hoping for a sequel if not a series! Hint hint hint! ...more
Rachel Cotterill
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sort of Harry Potter with advanced physics, Mad Science Institute is a fun, action packed novel suitable for children and adults alike. Heroine Soap is a likeable geek who has to rely on her unusual engineering skills to derail an evil genius.
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not only is this an entertains novel with likeable characters but it has believable inventions based on actual scientific theory that is easy and clearly explained for the lay person.

Looking forward to a sequel
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really good fun to read. A little obviously plotted in places, but that didn't detract from the whole. Recommended. ...more
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Sechin Tower is a writer, game designer, and teacher. He began work for Exile Game Studio in 2006 as editor of the Hollow Earth Expedition RPG and went on to become the chief contributor to the award-winning supplements Secrets of the Surface World and Mysteries of the Hollow Earth. He lives in the Seattle, Washington area with his beautiful wife and adoring cat. In his spare time, he prepares for ...more

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