288p. Scholastic/Chicken House. Mar. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338277555.
RedReviewStarGr 5–8—Christopher works as an engineer's assistant, living with mechanical children who together make up a small but loving family in spite of the illegal nature of their owner's pursuits and the conditions of the workshop. When an accident reveals Christopher's true nature and a rival engineer with unscrupulous aims kidnaps him, the other children search for him and find a recluse in a closed-off town of mechanicals who becomes their only means of rescue. This dark and bittersweet tale of friendship, family, and loss is carried along by the likeable ragtag bunch of mechanical children on which it is centered, and explores complex questions about the nature of a soul and emotions. The nonstop action includes some scenes of mechanicals being injured or dismembered that might best suit mature readers. There is an underlying sadness throughout the story that is reminiscent of Lauren DeStefano's middle grade titles. The ending is happy yet reflective of the young characters' strength as they overcome sorrow to find a home and security, together.
VERDICT This inventive, emotionally compelling fantasy is a strong fit for school and public library middle grade collections alike, and would be an excellent choice for book discussions.

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