Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reuben skips school most of the time and spends his days scouting around the neighborhood and climbing buildings just to see if he can. His mother works two jobs to keep them afloat, but Reuben loves the time that they spend together dreaming up houses with unusual ideas like slides to go from one floor to the next. While climbing, Reuben finds an antique watch that he thinks he might be able to sell to rescue his mother and himself from eviction, but he discovers that the watch grants the wearer fifteen minutes of blind invisibility. Determined to save his mother he begins to explore the origins of the watch. This leads him to a lighthouse up the coast where Penny Meyer lives with her family. Reuben, Penny, and Penny's brother Jack, set off to destroy Reuben's watch and it's twin watch that is in the hands of the infamous ruler of Reuben's city, The Shadow. Through risk, adventure, and true friends and family the trio rescue the city, their families, and are finally able to rid the world of the watches that are more of a trap than a treasure.
Getting into this story and staying involved with the plot proved to be quite a challenge. The beginning was slow paced and Reuben as a main character lacked likability until later in the book. This made the first several chapters very challenging. Penny's character is very likable in contrast with Reuben, and Penny's brother Jack is a delightful skallywag who would have helped the first pages if he could have somehow been introduced much earlier. The secondary characters are much stronger than the central character and once they were featured more prominently in the story it was much more fun to read. The premise of the story is great, as Penny voices it, "What good can a person do while invisible?" Secrets can destroy their keepers and the watches represent a great temptation to everyone who comes in contact with them. The ending is very exciting and worth slugging through the first section. A dependable book that could be stronger with a more interesting main character.