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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kid Konnection: Cragbridge Hall Book #1: The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris

Cragbridge Hall Book #1: The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris
Shadow Mountain
ISBN: 978-1609073268
Published March 2013
Hardcover, 352 pages
Ages 8-12

In this debut novel of the Cragbridge Hall series, twins Abby and Derick are about to attend a new school—Cragbridge Hall, the premiere junior high in the world, founded by their genius grandfather Oscar Cragbridge. The year is 2074 and this prestigious school has advanced technology that allows the students to watch history happen around them, run up a virtual mountain in gym class and learn about animals by becoming one through an avatar. But on their first day of school, their grandfather and parents go missing, leaving Abby and Derick to follow a trail of clues left by their grandfather. Oscar Cragbridge has a secret and someone is determined to get it to change the world. The race is on to save their family and discover their grandfather's secret that could be dangerous in the hands of the wrong people.

I read this book with my son and we enjoyed the cool things that the students could do at Cragbridge Hall. My son especially liked the gym class and the avatars. Abby and Derick are good kids, but Abby lives in the shadow of her brother who is a genius, whereas she is pretty ordinary and only got accepted into the school because of her grandfather. When her dorm roommate discovers this she ostracized Abby and humiliates her publicly. We follow Abby's journey as she learns to have confidence in her own strengths even if in the eyes of her classmates they seem mediocre at best. We especially loved this message that ordinary can be extraordinary when we accept who we are and work with what we have. Derick, on the other hand, had to accept that failing means we can learn from it and move on to do better.

There is a lot happening in this book and it happens all in the span of three days. The clues left by the grandfather have to do with historical people, so we get to learn in detail about what these people accomplished in the past by watching history unfold through an invention called the Bridge. These history lessons were interesting and we learned about several historical figures. This made for a lot of characters to retain and figure out how they related to grandpa Cragbridge and his clues. Sometimes my 9-year-old son found these accounts a little long. But it all came together in the end, where the suspense finally builds up as they race to save their parents.

Along the way, the twins make friends and discover who they can and can't trust in the academy. They are brave and courageous in the face of what they must go through to find their grandfather and parents. The mix of futuristic elements, historical people, time travel, villains and school life makes for a unique plotline and setting. The ending is great without any cliffhangers, but only a few unresolved issues that will surely present themselves in Book Two.

This is a well-written book by an author who has talent for creating an imaginary future with ties to the past. Recommended for all middle-graders who love a good adventure. Great for family reading too.

Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: Personal Time Travel Challenge

Check out this book trailer. It's one of the best we`ve seen. My son wished this book was made into a movie after he saw it!


Reviewed by Laura and Son

Disclosure: Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts a feature called Kid Konnection—a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, visit Booking Mama.

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