By Brian Selznick
Start Date: 31 March 2011
End Date: 31 March 2011
533 pages (Hardcover)
Published 1 March 2007
Genre: Graphic novel, historical fiction
Summary (from Goodreads):
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be unique. I've never read anything like it. The entire book is a combination of full-page pencil illustrations and text. In Selznick's words, it is "is not a exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things."
I've had this book on my to-read list for quite some time, but never actually bought it. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that I'm less likely to try something I'm not sure I'll love when I'm buying books online. When I'm actually holding the book, I'm much more likely to be adventurous with the books I buy - and most of the time they are the ones I enjoy the most. Anyway, I finally bought this book (in the store) and I'm so glad I did. When I got it, I had no idea what I was in for.
I sped through the story, torn between wanting to know what happens next and trying to examine each beautifully drawn illustration.
A part of the story that I found interesting but many readers might have missed was the particular combination of pictures and words to show Hugo's development as a character. Toward the beginning, the story is told mainly by pictures, with bits of text every once in a while. The first 22 pages are entirely illustration. However, as Hugo changes as a character, his story is told more and more with text and less with pictures; although the pictures are still there, the story is expressed more through the text.
Recommended for middle and high schoolers, especially if you enjoy graphic novels and remember the wonder of picture books.
Also, I wanted to put out a reminder that the giveaway is open until this Saturday (the 9th) at midnight. Scroll down to see details and enter.