Twelve-year old Edison Jones is a prodigy with a passion for technology and inventions. Paralyzed from the waist down since the age of five, he hasn’t let his disability slow him down. Then his world changes overnight when his grandfather, a billionaire tech company owner, decides to enroll him in a public school. Algorithms, quantum physics, and digital engineering are easy. Finding his way in the bewildering world of boys and girls his own age is quite another thing…the biggest challenge of his life.
Multi Award-Winning Author Michael Scott Clifton, a public educator for over 38 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie and family cat. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, he enjoys all kinds of book and movie genres. His books contain aspects of all the genres he enjoys...action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch and The Open Portal, received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers' Favorite Book Reviews, and he has been a finalist in a number of short story contests with Edges of Gray winning First Place in the Texas Authors Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine. Clifton's latest book, The Open Portal, won The Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award, and launches the fantasy book series, Conquest of the Veil. He is not only an author, but also a blogger and speaker as well.
"You know, sometimes...sometimes I wish I could be more like you."
Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator by Michael Scott Clifton is a glorious middle grade/young adult adventure about forging new friendships, overcoming limitations, and battling bullies, both young and old. Twelve-year-old Edison Jones has been in a wheelchair since he was five, disabled from a car accident that claimed the lives of his parents. Only that car accident was no accident. Raised by his wealthy grandfather, owner of LogicTech, Edison has everything he needs at his mansion to nurture his curiosity and natural ability for science and all things technical, but he has no friends his own age. While finally entering public school is a daunting experience because of his disability, Edison discovers something even more important than knowledge: friendship.
When bullies, both at school and at his grandfather’s company, threaten Edison and his new invention that will allow NASA to send higher payloads beyond Earth’s atmosphere both easier and more cost effectively, Edison and his new friends must band together and fight a dangerous battle between right and wrong; life and death.
Michael Scott Clifton knows how to warm the reader's heart and keep that same reader on the edge of the seat at the same time. As Edison’s friendships with Hondo, Carly, and Bree unfold throughout the chapters, danger seems to lurk around every corner. The technological aspects are fun, engaging, and interesting, and the bullies and evildoers keep the story at an explosive level. No dull moments in this story.
Clifton’s writing is easy to navigate but in no way too simplistic for the mature audience. Although the story may be targeted for the younger reader, everyone can derive enjoyment from this unique story about an unusually smart and gifted boy who finally realizes that he is not defined by his disability but by his honesty, integrity, and the sincere joy he finds in his relationships with his new friends, his doting grandfather, and his body guard/physical therapist, Carney. That moral of the story is crystal clear, but another moral is that home should be a safe haven filled with love, laughter, and safety. Edison’s friend Hondo finally sees how a loving family is supposed to act, and no other gift is greater than having a safe place to land each night.
Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator is a fun journey that may have you scratching your head at all the technical jargon, but thanks to Hondo, who insists Edison doesn’t speak like the boy genius that he is, quite a bit of that techno-speak is much easier to grasp. Either way, the entire story will capture your attention and imagination and maybe even cause you to ponder your own unique gifts and the wondrous relationships in your life.
I received a free copy of this book from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Edison Jones is a 12-year-old boy and technological mastermind. Following the death of his parents in a car accident when he was five that also left him paralyzed, Edison has been raised by his wealthy and equally tech savvy grandfather, Stanton. Their relationship is dynamic and profound to witness, especially as Stanton makes the difficult decision to begin sending Edison to public school. Though incredibly gifted and intensely curious, Stanton clearly understands that Edison needs to be surrounded by children his own age and engaged in their youthful activities, which may dramatically assist Edison with his social awkwardness. Ultimately, this is exactly what Edison needed; however, the friends he makes needed Edison in their own lives just as much if not more so.
The story is very fast-paced and packed with thrilling moments, making it a great option for any reluctant or struggling readers in your life. Each chapter is fairly short and concludes on a tense or cliffhanger situation that naturally allows a segue to draw you towards continuing with the story. The interactions between the children and the adults provide for timely and relevant discussions on a tough topic such as bullying as well as solutions that offer both positive and negative real world application. Language choice (use of the word "pussy" for name-calling) for some of the children as well as their actions (smoking) were an issue for me at times, making it difficult to believe that these characters were in fact 12 or 13. Fourteen to 16 year olds would have resonated better with me and created a more authentic voice, but personal preference aside, perhaps those moments may very well resonate for the intended audience. Either way, uncomfortable and/or questionable moments can definitely provide perfect fodder for further discussion.
The science and technology aspects of the story are immensely entertaining and create action sequences that readers of any age will thoroughly enjoy. There are some very fascinating and extensive scientific advancements happening throughout the course of the story that Edison is able to adequately explain in layman's terms because of his friends' reminders to "speak like a kid!" Rather than being dumb-downed, the narrative becomes even more compelling and enthusiastic. If you've had the chance to read The Martian, then you'll know exactly what I mean. A sense of adventure and quest for knowledge were always in the forefront and never in doubt!
This unique story will definitely capture your imagination and remind us all to always dream big.
Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for providing me with a free copy of the book for review. This is my honest and thoughtful opinion.
What an inspirational book! I absolutely love the clear and positive message, throughout, that one is only truly handicapped by their intelligence and imagination. Our hero, young Edison Jones, doesn’t let the fact that he’s a paraplegic, from the waist down, stop him in his quest to make the world a better place. Despite becoming an orphan at the tender age of five, Edison has experienced just about everything the world has to offer except for one thing – the friendship of his peers. You see, he has never been to public school but thanks to his loving grandfather’s insistence that he enroll for his own good, the young hermit’s life changes in ways that the freshest of all freshmen could have never imagined.
Luckily, Edison Jones learns early, from his junior high school contacts, not to explain everything as if he were speaking with an engineer. Even at my grandmotherly age, I could relate when his new friend, Hondo said “I guess I’m going to have Alexa translate for me when we have these talks. Remember, I’m a kid! Not one of your grandfather’s engineers.” That absolutely genius move on the part of the author Michael Scott Clifton, of explaining engineering and science in simple, yet exciting terms that anyone can understand and even aspire to, makes me imagine that most any teen can and will get excited about the concepts this book presents.
I have to say that I particularly loved the idea of using an anti-grav elevator to transport large payloads into space...to the space station and beyond. What a concept! Magnetic rings that push against each other until the module sitting atop them all reaches the exosphere (which I learned from reading this book - happens to be the 5th and final layer of the earth’s atmosphere). This book has many of my favorite elements of science fiction novels but it turned out to be even better than sci-fi because it falls more into the realm of what I'll just have to call "super science".
Engineers and Scientists – the world needs more of them and this book encourages me to believe we will have them - along with a bright and clean energy future. Now, that’s what I call inspirational.
(This review can be found on my blog All the Ups and Downs.) -- If you've followed my blog for awhile, you know I have a thing for middle grade fiction. There's something so refreshing that I just love. When the chance to read Edison Jones and The ANTI-GRAV Elevator arose, I couldn't say no. The synopsis sucked me right in, and I figured I'd be in for a great adventure. I wasn't wrong.
Edison Jones is a 12 year old seventh grader. After a car accident (that really wasn't an accident) left him paralyzed from the waist down and killed his parents, he's been living a very sheltered life with his grandpa. Edison isn't like most 12 year olds though. He's highly intelligent and has come up with a way to invent a anti-gravity space elevator. He's just go to prove to NASA that it works. Oh, and he's also being enrolled into the local public junior high school for the first time which also presents problems of its own. Edison will have to prove his space elevator has what it takes while also navigating the new realm of school and friendship if he's going to make his dreams come true.
The plot for Edison Jones and The ANTI-GRAV Elevator definitely was an interesting one for sure. While there are similar books out there, Michael Scott Clifton really made his book stand out. I liked how the main character had a disability which made it harder for him when it came to everything. It's refreshing to see a main character that's different from the mainstream. There is a bunch of science speak and terminology which can be a little overwhelming for the average person, but eventually, you get used to it. Plus, you don't need to know all of the terminology to enjoy this book. Context clues are also available to help make the terminology a bit more understandable. Descriptive scenes abound throughout this novel which makes it very easy to get lost in this book. In fact, many times I forgot where I was because I was so focused on this novel. The anticipation that Clifton sets up for major events throughout Edison Jones and The ANTI-GRAV Elevator is done brilliantly. I was definitely holding my breath and turning the page quickly to find out what would happen next especially when it came to scenes with the Breakstone twins, the robotics competition, the last junior high football game, and the launching of Edison's space elevator! The build up in those scenes was amazing! The ending does leave the possibility of another Edison Jones story being released in the future.
One thing that did irk me quite a bit was the stereotype that all of those who live in mobile homes are trashy. I felt like the author played into that a bit too much during one chapter. Here's one example which can be found at the end of chapter 26 when discussing Markie Franks who is a bully and Hondo's house (Hondo, Edison's friend, comes from a home where his mom chooses her boyfriend over him, and the boyfriend and Hondo don't get along.): "Markie's house surprised Edison. Although more modest than Bree's, it was also a brick home with an immaculate yard and appearance. He wasn't sure what he expected--maybe a mobile home with rusting cars on blocks in the yard--not the tidy home the bully lived in. Hondo...did live in a mobile home complete with a yard full of foot-high weeds. The only light came from the blue flicker of a TV through a grimy window next to the front door. With a grimace, Hondo got out and waved, his shoes pushing a path through the brown weeds and grass." It's stereotypes like this that make those who live in mobile homes easy targets for bullying as well as making those that live in mobile homes feel horrible about their life. It really shouldn't have been discussed like this at all. Not everyone who lives in a mobile home is trailer trash which is what I felt this book was implying.
I did feel like all the characters in Edison Jones and The ANTI-GRAV Elevator were very fleshed out and realistic. Edison is extremely intelligent when it comes to science, but he struggles with fitting in as he's been sheltered his whole life. Even though Edison isn't your average 12 year old when it comes to smarts, it was refreshing to see just how average he was when it came to navigating friendships and romance. I loved reading about Edison's thought process when it came to his crush on Carly as well as his friendship between Bree, Hondo, and Carly. I liked how Edison, for the most part, wouldn't give that bully, Markie Franks, the satisfaction of knowing that he bothered him. I admired Hondo after all he had been through. Throughout most of the book, I was trying to figure out if Hondo was a genuine person or if he would end up double crossing Edison. Bree and Carly were great friends to Edison, and it was obvious how much they admired Edison. I liked how they would stand up for him. The Breakstone Twins were also very interesting. I can't wait to see more of them in future books (if the author chooses to make this a series). I liked how cunning and calculated they both were.
Trigger warnings for Edison Jones and The ANTI-GRAV Elevator include some profanity, name calling including using the word "pussy", some stereotyping, some violence, bullying, attempted murder, murder, a mention of drugs (being stoned), some underage smoking, and a mention of beer.
All in all, Edison Jones and The Anti-GRAV Elevator is a fantastic story that straps you in for a very exciting adventure throughout its pages. The plot is fantastic, the characters are diverse, and the action abounds. I would definitely recommend Edison Jones and The ANTI-GRAV Elevator by Michael Scott Clifton to those aged 13+ who seek adventure in their life. This would appeal mostly to those interested in science, but I think everyone who enjoys a solid story would like it. -- (A special thank you to Lone Star Literary Life for the tour and to Michael Scott Clifton for sending me a paperback of Edison Jones and The ANTI-GRAV Elevator in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)
I was initially worried that Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator would be too preach-y or lesson-y of a kid’s book. (I don’t read a lot of YA\Middle Grade.) How wrong I was! It was a bit slow to start for me, but once the action picks up, I was hooked!
The main middle grade lesson that Edison learns is the value of friendship. Edison was reluctant to go to public school at first; he’d been home-schooled for the 5 years after the accident that left him paralyzed. But he quickly settles into a rhythm and in the end, he learns the importance of close friends. He also quickly learns the lesson of not making too many enemies!
I especially enjoyed reading how Edison deals with his social awkwardness. He’s been so isolated from other kids that he certainly struggles with the social aspects of middle school more than the actual school workload. Learning how to ‘properly’ interact with his fellow classmates leads to some very humorous situations.
The plot has some serious heart racing moments. These include the championship football game, the robotics challenges, and especially the climactic ending. I was cheering Edison and his friends along the journeys throughout the novel.
In addition to heart racing action, I found Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator to be very emotional. Primarily, there is the parental connection. We clearly see Edison’s love for his grandfather (and vice versa) as well as Hondo’s missed relationship with his own parents. We also see the young characters faced with the first blushes of love and jealousy of middle school that we are all familiar with.
The characters, especially Edison, show a lot of growth over the course of the novel. Edison learns to appreciate his friends, how he can depend on them to have his back. Edison also learns how his disability doesn’t limit him.
“Don’t let your disability influence how you think or act. Don’t let it rule your emotions.”
As Edison discovers throughout the novel, his initial worries about fitting in at school while being disabled are unwarranted. He really learns to shine with the help of his friends.
Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator is a great showcase of science for the win. I don’t know how accurate the science and math in the novel are – I’m no NASA scientist – but it’s great to see a middle grade book emphasizing how science can solve a lot of problems. I would especially like to have Edison’s bedroom holographic walls in my own home. Imagine how frequently you could change the view or decorations without having to paint or wallpaper!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator. It demonstrates some great lessons about the importance of friends and science. Highly recommended for any middle school (or older!) reader.
I can’t lie, when I first heard of Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator by Michael Scott Clifton, my brain immediately thought of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. While both elevators travel much farther than any elevator known to man, that is where the similarities end. Not to mention, Charlie Bucket isn’t an adolescent genius who invented the great glass elevator.
Edison Jones is like the Iron Man of junior high boys. He has this incredible mind that he uses to create amazing inventions that tend to skew toward military or aerospace applications. And like Iron Man, Edison uses one of his inventions, his anti-grav chair, to improve his quality of life. So that’s where the Iron Man comparison ends. While any kid who hasn’t been to public school before has a similar fear of fitting in and not making friends, amplify that by a thousand when you consider that Edison has no friends or acquaintances of his own age. His struggle with social norms among his peers reminds me of Sheldon Cooper minus the immature quirks. Edison is like a 30 year old man in a 12-year-old body.
All of the junior high scenes played out like a teen movie in my head with each archetype represented. You’ve got Hondo the jock, Carly the cheerleader, and Bree the nerdy girl who is beautiful once the glasses come off. While in my own junior high experience, these four kids wouldn’t be friends in school, much less outside of it; I was able to suspend my disbelief and really came to enjoy their relationship. It was refreshing to see them act outside of their character type as well. Believe it or not, I would have liked to see the bully, Markie Franks, fleshed out more. One minute he’s yelling the typical bad guy, “You haven’t see the last of me!” to using words like “droll” while mimicking a fine art curator to flipping the bird. And then you see him get dropped off in front of a nice home with a perfectly manicured lawn. So many questions…
While the character interactions were very entertaining, I was most impressed with the science in this novel. Clifton really must have a background in science or at least did a lot of research to pull the technology together. I’m no science whiz, but you can just tell when a book has some fantastical gadgets in it that are a little too good to be true. I loved how Edison batmans from his bedroom (replete with goodies like Hunger Games/Sanctum Sanctorum panels) down to a lab that is connected to a Raccoon City-esque labyrinth of LogicTech’s top secret facility. I lapped up all the details and kept thinking, ‘God I hope this becomes a movie someday.’ I think my excitement over each new invention even rivaled Edison and Hondo’s enthusiasm. The only real bummer for me was one scene that was a little too similar to Big Hero 6. It not only used the same technology, but the fake out that led to victory was almost identical.
Overall, I found the book a great pleasure to read. It seems to be aimed at men and boys, but I think that girls would really enjoy it as well. I like that it shows how people are complicated and that there is so much more than what meets the eye. I also feel like it’s a lesson on trusting your gut and not making excuses when life is unfair. I don’t know what Clifton’s intention is, but this book felt like a setup for an exciting series. I sure hope there are more Edison books to come. If not, I will definitely be on the lookout for the next book by this author.
I don't read a lot of YA novels anymore, as I select all the adult fiction at my library and have to stay knowledgeable with what's being published in that category. But I was intrigued by Michael Scott Clifton's new middle grade/young adult novel, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. The opening scene is one of the best I've read in quite some time, with the gripping descriptions and creative use of onomatopoeia.
Being somewhat plugged into the publishing industry, I know that there has been a positive trend lately to try to offer more novels featuring characters with disabilities, and the author has created a wonderful main character in Edison, who was left paralyzed after a car accident when he was very young.
It is clear from the very beginning of the book that 12 year old Edison is extremely intelligent - a genius actually. He has been home schooled by his grandfather, Stanton, since his parents were killed in the accident, and has had access to many advanced technologies and laboratories at Stanton's company. But the decision is made that sheltering Edison from the "real world" is harming him more than helping him, so as the novel opens, Edison is starting 7th grade at the local public school. It's intriguing the way Edison plans to get around though: he has modified his wheelchair into a hover craft of sorts, and the descriptions of all the advanced things the chair can do are fascinating.
As nervous as Edison is to start school with kids his own age, he luckily meets some fellow students who become his friends throughout the book. And in these interactions with other 7th graders, Edison learns a lot about himself: he has much to be grateful for, in spite of his disability; he has something to offer to the world with his intelligence and creative thinking; and he has more of an ability to help others than he ever thought he could. At times, I felt that the author needed to "show me, don't tell me" better with his writing; but overall, the characters were well-developed and the pace was such that I wanted to keep turning the pages, especially at the exciting end of this well-written book.
There is a lot of science and technology explored in this novel, and I admit I didn't understand all of it! But it would be a great book to put into the hands of mature middle grade and teen readers who are interested in STEM. Budding scientists and those fascinated by space flight and advanced robotics should enjoy this one and look forward to more adventures with Edison and his friends.
I only have a few criticisms, and those are minor. The first page of each chapter is printed on gray shaded paper with images, and that made it a bit of challenge to read in print. And although the writing is excellent, I felt that some of the vocabulary was well above the intended audience. The characters are all fully fleshed out, but do fall into stereotypes: the jock, the brainy girl, the cheerleader, and the bully, for example. The story really shines, however, when it shows Edison overcoming some of the limitations he has put on himself. Overall, this was a unique, action-packed story, with exciting twists and turns, and I will be happy to recommend it.
I had a hunch before I even opened Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator that it would be a fun read. My expected enjoyment of this story didn’t even come close to my actual enjoyment. Wow! What a ride!
When I was in grade school, I happened upon a special book in our small school library. It was The Fabulous Flight by Robert Lawson. That wonderful story opened my imagination to a new universe that could only be found in fiction. I can truly see Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator doing that same thing to children of this newest generation. We need so much more of that in this world.
Michael Scott Clifton has a wonderful gift for storytelling. If you read this very fun book, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Why is Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator such a fun story?
Most of the characters in this story are in contemporary middle school. Right off the bat, young readers can relate to the characters. Further, the main protagonist is handicapped: he must use a wheel chair (sort of). Unless, of course, he’s in the water or in outer space!
The story includes a bully, jealousy, backstabbing, football, and lots of innocence. Can you draw any similarities to a middle-schooler you know? They abound. Further, there are some very good values throughout the story that could benefit young readers. They’re not preached to the reader. Rather, they can only be observed. Personally, I think that’s a pretty good way to get through to a middle-schooler.
The technology is amazing. I’m not sure how much is possible and how much is totally fabricated, but I don’t really care either way. The technology is the literary vehicle that takes us through the story. Actually, I consider it a character in and of itself.
The last fifty pages or so will keep you riveted to your seat, turning pages as fast as you can!
Each significant character has a noticeable character arc, even the antagonists. (I didn’t say they were all good arcs.) I think you’ll be pleased.
The pacing is perfect. The storyline is good enough to lock in the reader early. However, once we hit the last fifty pages or so, the pacing goes on a wild ride. Hang on!
I will keep this book on the shelf next to my copy of The Fabulous Flight. Yes, I still have a copy. It’s old, it’s seen better days, but a good story is a good story, isn’t it?
Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator is a good story! I can’t recommend it enough.