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The Book of Lost Things

(Mister Max #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,392 ratings  ·  494 reviews
Max Starling's theatrical father likes to say that at twelve a boy is independent. He also likes to boast (about his acting skills, his wife's acting skills, a fortune only his family knows is metaphorical), but more than anything he likes to have adventures. Max Starling's equally theatrical mother is not a boaster but she enjoys a good adventure as much as her husband. ...more
Hardcover, 1st ed, 374 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published August 24th 2013)
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Cynthia Well, mild romance if you're talking about relationships, but nothing physical.…moreWell, mild romance if you're talking about relationships, but nothing physical. (less)

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Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you grew up in the eighties and nineties, you probably came across a Cynthia Voigt book or five in your school library. I even remember having Homecoming read to me in sixth grade - a book about the astonishing Tillerman family, four kids (the oldest one was just eleven), who, after being abandoned in a parking lot, have to figure out a way to stay together and fend for themselves with nowhere to go and nothing to eat.

At the time, I was amazed by how Voigt could make such a crazy situation so
Sep 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
ARC via NetGalley

12-year-old Max has lost his parents to suspicious and unusual circumstances. It's a terrible plight for a boy of 12, but Max remains so consistently unappealing and his parents (in their brief appearance at the start of the novel) remain so self-absorbed and unlikeable that it's hard to care much about where Max's parents have disappeared to or Max's well-being in the interim. Max is primarily concerned with maintaining his independence following his abandonment, a need that
Tamara Richman
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm a terrible person. Really awful. I got this ARC and the first thing I read on the cover was, "Cynthia Voight, Newbery Medalist and... I didn't want to read it. Because while I may recognize the literary merit of most Newbery winners they are all such well, for lack of a better phrase, teacher books. Everyone of them teaches a lesson about kindness, humility, blah, blah, blah. But this is not a review about the Newbery books and their relative merit. This is a review about what an awful, ...more
Luisa Knight
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
I give this 2.5 stars. I liked the book well enough, just thought it was slow, often very descriptive, and was more predictable than a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book. So perhaps give this to your seasoned reader and not a child you're hoping to encourage to read more - it might bog them down.


Attitudes/Disobedience - 4 Incidents: A boy doesn't exactly like his parents or grandmother telling him what to do or worrying about him - he figures he is old enough to be independent. It happens
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it

Maximilian Sterling is the son of two actors, which comes in handy when his parents disappear. He dons a variety of disguises to keep strangers out of his house and earn enough money to survive. After some unsuccessful ventures, he begins to gain a reputation as a detective, although Max doesn't feel like a detective.

I liked the way the various mysteries withing MISTER MAX wove together. Several of the solutions will be obvious to an older reader, but I would've loved seeing everything fall
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
Okay this was actually adorable. It has a lot of elements of other big series like A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Box and the Dragonfly and even some Sherlock Holmes. Max is a really likeable character who just loves finding solutions to things. His grandma is an interesting character too. I know their disappearance I'd the mystery but I just found the little bit of time where we got Max's parents was so interesting. I wanted more of them! All of Max's surrounding cast were enjoyable. Def ...more
New book from our shelves by a popular author we have a lot of older books by so I decided to try this one—completely unaware of what was about to happen I was sucked into this story about a twelve year old boy..The story begins with a family of two actor parents receiving an invitation to start a theater group in the two dramatics prepare to leave they almost forget their son Max but then a letter promising him a ticket arrives and their adventure is set. As the day comes for the trio ...more
Joy H.
Added October 13, 2019. (first published August 24, 2013)
_The Book of Lost Things_ (Mister Max #1) by Cynthia Voigt
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins

I'm enjoying this well-told story with an unusual plot which keeps you listening. Twelve year old Max's parents have mysteriously disappeared. He is alone except for his grandmother. What happened to Max's parents? What will Max do?

There are 25 chapters
Lana Shupe
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Once again I am a sucker for any book title with the word book in it.
An intriguing read for young adults 9-12. A satisfying hero, a fun heroine and a great supporting cast of characters with all the quirks and family grudges necessary to make a good story for kids. I was surprised at the ending, but nevertheless it was a good one.
Cynthia Voigt has pulled me in. I'm looking forward to "solutioning" with Mister Max in book #2.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really liked this book. It was a little slow in the beginning but once you get past that I really liked the story and I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun mystery, clever storytelling, good characters. Good 4-5th grades on up, but don't sell it short because you are older. I enjoyed it for myself. Good read aloud book too.
Katie Fitzgerald
Max’s parents are actors with a flair for the dramatic, and his father has often insisted that a twelve-year-old boy is more than capable of taking care of himself. Still when both his parents go missing under mysterious circumstances, Max isn’t quite prepared to be left on his own with just his grandmother as an ally. It doesn’t take long for Max to realize how difficult it is to keep enough money in his pockets and enough food on his table. While looking for work, he accidentally gains a ...more
Gina (My Precious Blog)
Initial Thoughts: When I read Middle Grade fiction, I'm constantly searching for stories which can be enjoyed by the young and old alike. I like a complex plot, rich writing and character depth. In many ways Mister Max didn't disappoint. Cynthia Voigt is no stranger to good writing, with her latest release, Mister Max the Book of Lost Things she continues to pen beautifully detailed prose. Max is an endearing character. He's resourceful, admirable and very thoughtful. When faced with adversity, ...more
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shelf-awareness
Twelve years old Max Starling is in quite a pickle. His parents, professional theatre actors, have mysteriously disappeared under the guise of being lured to Bombay, India to open a new theatre. The problem is: the boat that they were to set sail on doesn’t exist. No wonder Max missed the boat! Fortunately, Max isn’t left entirely on his own as he has his Grammie who lives right next door to him. But times are tough, and Grammie can’t support herself and Max too. So Max does what any independent ...more
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I don't read a lot of middle grade fiction, and can probably count on one hand the number of titles that I've read and reviewed on this blog; however, when I saw an e-mail from Netgalley about this title, I just KNEW that I had to read it. I absolutely adored Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming series when I was younger and I remember reading Dicey's adventures several times over.

Max's theatrical parents receive a mysterious invitation to India and then disappear on the date of their departure. Max is
Rosi Hollinbeck
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
From my blog:
Some years ago, I picked up a book by Cynthia Voigt. I think it was something one of my students recommended to me. It was called Homecoming and I didn't know when I started reading it that it was the first in a seven-book series. I started reading and couldn't get enough of those characters and their stories. I read right through the series and wished it hadn't ended. When I noticed a book by Ms. Voigt on my options for reviewing for the Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review, I
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Ah, Mister Max. What an intriguing young fellow he was. I have to tell you that, although most will list this as Middle Grade, I think it bridges the gap. It's true that our hero is a mere twelve years old. However he's wise well beyond his years and, I won't lie, his personality is infectious. Max Starling is one of those characters who is going to cause a lot of readers to smile, no matter what their age.

I'm sure you're wondering why, if I loved Max so very much, I rated this book as I did.
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was adorable. Full review to come, but now I'm off to read book 2!

Updated on September 6, 2015

**Thank you to Penguin Random House for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!**

I've recently found that I quite enjoy middle grade, so as soon as I got the opportunity to read and review this awesome looking trilogy, I jumped right on it! The Book of Lost Things is the first book in the Mister Max trilogy, and it definitely starts off with a bang.

The story follows young Max
Kathy Martin
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Max is the child of two actors. He has grown up around drama of all kinds and has watched many of his parents' performances. When his parents receive an offer to travel and develop a theatrical troupe for a mysterious maharajah, Max wonders if he will be left behind to stay with his Grammie. At 12, his father thinks of him as being old enough to be independent. His parents plan to take Max along, but when he arrives at the docks, his parents are gone. Upon investigation he learns that the ship ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, own-book
Grade: middle school, main character Max is 12 years old and attempts to live "independently" (with the help of his (Grammie who lives next door) when his parents leave him behind to pursue an exciting acting opportunity abroad.

The Book of Lost Things (Mister Max #1) The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

Max is only 12 years old when his parents leave him behind while they pursue a potentially exciting acting opportunity abroad. His father dramatically emphasizes that Max is old enough to be
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Max and his parents are part of the Starling Theatrical Company. Max's father receives a letter. It is from the Maharajah in India. He wants the Starling Theatrical Company to help put together a theatrical group for him. He has sent ship tickets. Max makes a plan to meet his parents before the ship sets sail. When Max arrives, he learns that there is no Maharajah and his parents have disappeared, It is up to Max to find them.

I picked up this book with the intent of giving it to my nephews to
Medeia Sharif
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max’s parents are actors. When the Maharajah of Kashmir invites them to India to create a theater company, they feel honored. The Maharajah hasn’t invited Max, but his parents intend to take him to India with them. On the day of their planned departure, Max is ready to meet his parents at the waterfront, but they’re nowhere to be found. Also, there was no boat by the name of Flower of Kashmir docked there. His parents have disappeared.

With his parents gone, Max has his grandmother, but she
Shannon L. Gonzalez
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mister Max The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

A glance behind the theatre curtain into the entertainer' s lives.

This middle grade book is a charming story following 12 year old Max as he embarks on adulthood responsibilities. Raised by theatre production parents, he is quite inventive at problem solving. It is a delightful beginning of a series. Creativity abounds through out the story and has at its core that 12 year olds can think for themselves when trouble ensues.

Entertaining for both
The premise given for The Book of Lost Things sounded so promising I couldn’t resist swooping up this middle grade title. As expected with a number of MG books I had to suspend belief / disbelief and just roll with things no matter how silly I felt things were getting. In this respect, I definitely believe this one a title for children, and not one that would work well as a cross over. At least not for me personally. When I read middle grade fiction I approach it trying to put myself into a ...more
Kristen Jett
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
MISTER MAX is a darling read that will inspire lots of imagination. Max is used to the unusual - he is the child of a drama family, after all. Theatre to be exact. What he doesn't expect is to get left behind when his parents get invited to perform for royalty. He also doesn't expect that something about that trip may be a hoax!

Left to his own defenses, Max is determined to keep his family's house, be independent, and bring his family back.

Various mysteries are woven together leading to one
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thanks to and Random House Children's for allowing me access to this title.

I have always loved Cynthia Voight ever since I read the Tillman Cycle when I was young. Her wonderful writing and storytelling continues here.

I loved the world building and the characters were fantastic. Overall, I thought this was a great book. My only issue was that I didn't see a 12 year-old being able to pull of the character changes that Max does. There are few boys his age that would be able to look
A Canadian Girl
Dec 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013, knopf, 1-star
The Book of Lost Things was a book that I requested two years ago because its author was Cynthia Voigt. Although I had never read any of Voigt’s novels, The Book of Lost Things was her latest release at the time, and so I thought it would be appropriate to start with it. For some reason though, I never got around to reading The Book of Lost Things … and honestly, I wish that still remained the case. I know I’m not the target audience for The Book of Lost Things, but I was just so bored reading ...more
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
We've all had families like this...well maybe not exactly like this! Max is part of a family of "Actors" who suddenly disappear causing Max to embark on a journey of epic proportions meeting characters of all shapes and sizes and finding out that independence is not as important as that of the love of family.

I really enjoyed this book and have always adored Voigt's voice. This story took many twists and turns and provides mystery and intrigue and at the base, a really touching story. Can't wait
Jenn Estepp
Oct 19, 2013 rated it liked it
3 1/2 maybe; I liked Max and his adventures. I liked some of the supporting characters. There were plot points that annoyed Adult Me, which I suspect wouldn't have bothered Kid Me. I kind of wanted to strangle his parents. I don't like it when it feels like books are pandering to librarians. But, there's a really endearing quality to this, so.
I so enjoyed reading this! Clever, fun, interesting characters, mysteries and problems to solve - not to mention delightful, well crafted writing. I tore through this and book #2, and can't wait for book # 3.
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995

Other books in the series

Mister Max (3 books)
  • The Book of Secrets (Mister Max, #2)
  • The Book of Kings (Mister Max, #3)
“...all work is worth doing well. And there are things to be enjoyed about most jobs...” 2 likes
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