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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Whizbang Machine: The Whizbang Machine Series, Book 1 is a young adult mystery novel written by Danielle A. Vann. Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Yale loves her typewriter, even if it's not as efficient and easy to use as a laptop or word processor. While she's no stranger to tech and loves her phone, there's a special connection that she feels to the clanging chatter and other little noises that the typewriter emits as she works, and the feel of the keys hitting her paper. She's reluctant to leave her typing incomplete when her mother calls and tells her to come downstairs, but it is Grandpa Jack who's coming to see them, after all. It's been eight long years since he left, almost immediately after the sudden death of her father, Jesse. Having her grandfather desert her so soon after the loss of her dad hurt deeply, and while she's thrilled to be seeing him again and still has the hundreds of postcards he sent her during his travels, there's just a touch of resentment and hurt lingering from his desertion when she needed him most. But when the door opens, and she sees him standing there looking at him, she can't help but rush into his arms.
Danielle A. Vann's young adult mystery, The Whizbang Machine: The Whizbang Machine Series, Book 1, is an exciting and fast-paced novel that follows Elizabeth and her grandfather, Jack, as they follow the trail of clues relating to the strange typewriter he found in Morocco which bears Elizabeth's initials on it. Along the way, they discover hidden documents, share in an amazing genealogical trip into their family's past, and travel to Leiden in the Netherlands where it may all have begun. I loved revisiting the main branch of the New York Public Library with them and found the descriptions of Leiden so compelling that I searched Google for images to go along with my reading. Vann's characters are well-defined and authentic, and I especially appreciated Elizabeth's resilience, imagination and courage as she teams with Grandpa Jack. The plot is superb, mingling history with mystery as the two persist in following their clues, despite the dangers they come up against. While this is a relatively lengthy work, I actually found that this book ended all too soon, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. The Whizbang Machine: The Whizbang Machine Series, Book 1 is most highly recommended.