Stuart Horten, a tiny boy with the unfortunate nickname, S. Horten (shorten), has enough on his plate. Then his parents tell him that they are moving far enough away that seeing his friends will be a real issue. But, on his first day in the new town, he finds himself involved in a mystery and adventure.
It seems that Stuart's great Uncle Tony, a great magician had a secret laboratory where he created the most miraculous mechanisms. I know, I know, you didn't see that coming at all, did you? He left a little trick for Stuart's father with an epic hunt for the lab and all the Horten magical secrets. It turns out that the boy destined to take up Uncle Tony's challenge skipped a generation.
Stuart makes some wonderful friends, young and old, and discovers great things about his family and the town. He also learns about trusting people and what comes of trusting the wrong people.
I liked Stuart. I liked the other characters in the book and I like how off the wall this adventure turned out to be. Lissa Evans has created a story unlike any other. She's one of the reasons that children's, juvenile and young adult fiction can be so fulfilling and enjoyable to read.