Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Sarah Maria Griffin
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Nell Crane has never quite fit in. Her parents were geniuses, creating bio-mechanical body parts that save people's lives, and she needs to live up to their reputation. With time growing short before she must offer a contribution to society, the weight of expectation is heavy on her shoulders. Add to that the growing distance of her one friend Ruby and the persistent attention of Oliver Kelly, the most annoying boy in the world, and Nell is finding it difficult to act like everything is okay. However, inspiration strikes when she discovers Oliver is salvaging old models of her father's bio-mechanical limbs. Combining them with old computer technology, Nell creates an automaton for her contribution, a way to show that old technology can still be useful today. But before she can prepare her presentation, Nell discovers that her father is planning to pass her work off as his own. With aid from her friends, Nell successfully stops her father and gets the chance to show her creation to the world.
This is an excellently written novel that many will enjoy reading. Griffin takes the well-known idea of Frankenstein and creates something totally new. Nell is such an interesting character, a smart introverted girl trying to live up to the expectations placed on her. Everyone expects her to create something amazing, but she just can't think of anything she would feel proud to put her name on. She is also deeply flawed, finding it hard to interact with others and often choosing to drive people away rather than open up to them. She struggles with her own value, the uneasy relationship with father, and the hurt surrounding her mother's death. Her friendship with Ruby and her dislike of Oliver are difficult for her to work through and she develops the false idea that she must create this automaton to finally have someone who understands her. With great character development and a few plot elements that explain a lot of the problems her family faces, this is one book that definitely deserves more readers.
*Contains mild language and moderate violence.