Pflufelder, Bob and Hockensmith, Steve. Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab (Nick and Tesla #1)
5 November 2013, Quirk Books
Copy provided by the publisher.
Twins Nick and Tesla's parents are going to study soybean irrigation in Uzebekistan, so they are sent to live with their quirky inventor uncle in California. Uncle Newt spends so much time on his inventions that he lets Nick and Tesla do whatever they want, and barely feeds or care for them otherwise, which is, of course, awesome. They have free range of his lab, which comes in handy when they are trying to investigate a spooky house nearby and when they try to figure out why a black van seems to be stalking them. With the help of new friends DeMarco and Silas, they get to make a lot of cool gadgets and manage to solve one big mystery.
Strengths: This is fast paced, and what student wouldn't pick up a book that starts with the warning headed "Danger! Danger! Danger! Danger!" that continues with things like "ask an adult to read the instructions!" and claiming that the authors are not liable for any damages? There's a nice relationship between the twins and their uncle, and just a lot of somewhat scary chases. Instructions for the gadgets the children make are included.
Weaknesses: Sometimes the plot turns seem to be there solely to justify the experiment or gadget, and the mystery is a bit far fetched.
This sequel comes out on 4 February 2014. Who doesn't want to know how to assemble a robot army?