by Kate Milford
Clarion, 2010. 372 pgs. Young Adult
Kate Milford's very scary story of the devil loose in post World War I Missouri builds slowly, taking its time, scariness flickering around the edges of the story and then subsiding, only to flare up again. Natalie very much wants to learn to ride her boneshaker bicycle, but it is hinged and jointed so strangely that she falls off relentlessly. She also like working in the shop with her father, a mechanic who can repair just about anything. Together they are working on a small automaton. But when a traveling medicine show comes to town, everything gets very strange: automata appear that have no need of keys, a devilish array of barkers and healers make there way through the town of Arcane, selling cures that work--for a time. An interesting, American variation of a "devil at the crossroads" story, The Boneshaker honors courage and confidence in the face of seemingly irrepressible evil. Best-suited for young people from sixth grade on up.