LFPL Teen Services's Reviews > The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
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's review
Sep 04, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: coming-of-age, mystery, must-reads, reluctantreaders
Recommended for: artsy teens;
Read in September, 2007

Hugo is living a secret life in a Paris train station. No one knows he's alive, and he'd like to keep it that way. His uncle, has disappeared and is most likely dead. He works within the walls of the train station, keeping the many clocks in working order. Stealing food, milk and tiny toy parts, Hugo ekes out some kind of living.

His father, also dead, was an amazing man who rescued an automaton (look it up in the dictionary) from a museum fire and loved the fantastical films of Georges Mieles. With his father's detailed notebook, Hugo attempts to rebuild the automaton and will do anything to discover the hidden message the automaton is waiting to write.

He meets Isabel and her godfather Georges, unlikely friends, who harbors their own secrets about the automaton and share with Hugo a fascination of film.

Together, with much pain, Isabel and Hugo go forth, helping and hating each other to unlock secrets of the past. Secrets which make the future uncertain for them both.

Although written for younger children, the study of automatons (see some neat ones on YouTube) and history's first silent films will be appealing to teens. Heavy on illustrations, that are in no way childish, this super-thick book will appeal to artistic kids and reluctant readers.

~Lisa S.
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