Publication Date: April 1st, 2007
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction
Pages: 534 pages
Buy It: Amazon
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-like the gears of the clocks he keeps-with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the train 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.
This is the story of a twelve year old boy who lives in a train station, keeping their clocks. His live revolves around fixing a mechanical man that his father had been trying to fix before he passed away in a fire. The boy used to live with his uncle in the train station, until his drunk of an uncle disappears one day, leaving him all alone. He continues to keep up the clocks, a position that was held by his uncle. He steals food in the station to keep himself fed, and he steals toys from the toy booth to fix the mechanical man. This book revolves around the introduction of films at the time (post World War II). The mechanical man leads Hugo to meet a few new characters. The man who runs the toy shop, and his goddaughter. Hugo ends up fixing the machine, and while it doesn’t reveal what he expected it too, it opens up another side to the story.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the format of the book as it is told half in words and half in illustrations. The illustrations themselves were absolutely beautiful, but they really added to the story. This is definitely one of those books that I will be shoving into the hands of my future children. Aside from the illustrations, both the characters and the story itself were wonderful also. Hugo is a strong willed boy who wants only one thing in life, to fix the mechanical man that his father did not have the chance to fix. He’s also under a strong hope that perhaps the night he died, his father left him a message in the mechanical man. But it definitely takes a strong character to be twelve years old , an orphan, and to survive on their own.
Overall, I really really loved this book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It’s a great story about a boy who discovers the truth about something important to him, and ultimately he finds a home and family too.