Release Date: November 2013
Publisher: Quirk Books
My Rating: 4/5
Source: Received for review from publisher
Cover: It’s fun and eye-catching.
Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency. It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more. Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.
In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles. Learning about science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!
I haven’t really had the chance (or the need and/or desire) to read a lot (or any) middle grade novels. I may be a big kid at heart but middle grade fiction isn’t on the top of my TBR list (or anywhere on the list really). Despite all that I have to say I enjoyed the heck out of Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab! It wasn’t too mature for the intended audience and it wasn’t too immature for a big kid (who isn’t into “kid” fiction) like me to get into. You don’t even have to be a science/tech geek lover like Nick, Tesla, or one of the authors, “Science Bob”, to like the book. There are enough laughs, action, cool gadgets, and even DIY instructions on said cool gadgets to go around. Definitely a winner if you ask me!
Nick and Tesla are extremely easy to like. There is some slight bickering involved but it’s obvious they care and look out for each other. The twin siblings are very smart but not overtly so. Not being a huge science lover myself I’d hang out with these two. (When I was their age of course!) They have a ridiculously eccentric Uncle who lives alone with his hairless cat Eureka and his countless on-going inventions and hoard-like tendencies. Despite the fact that Uncle Newt should probably never be in charge of another human being (let alone two 11 year old children) he clearly cares about Nick and Tesla. He just has a unique and unsafe way of showing it.
The twins are living with Uncle Newt (who they aren’t even close to) because their parents were suddenly called away to Uzbekistan to study soy beans…yes makes perfect sense right? Send your children across the country to live with a stranger-like relative because the beans are calling?? Well there is more to that story than meets the eye and finding out is half the fun!! The other half is following Nick and Tesla as their seemingly harmless curiosity leads them to a mysterious house guarded by attack dogs and inhabited by a ghost-like girl in the upstairs window. outrageousness of the plot is fully backed with really good story telling, I promise. It may seem a bit absurd or silly at times but Nick and Tesla is a very fun and satisfying read. I liked the characters, even the new friends the twins make (although there isn’t much limelight for them in the story). With plenty of action and humor the pacing of the book is quick and addicting. And yes, I did mention the DIY instructions for the gadgets the twins actually use in the story. How cool is that idea? I didn’t try any of the projects out but that has more to do with my laziness than anything else. I personally wanted to try “Robocat” and the “Electromagnet and Picker-Upper”. I’m looking forward to Nick and Tesla’s next adventure because there is more than just soy beans, crazy Uncle Newts, secret agents, and mysterious black SUVs to this story than meets the eye!!