The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman

The Wells Bequest by Polly Shulman
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin Books)
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (273 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rated: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Lupine

Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny, beautiful girl is riding it. But in the few moments before it vanishes, returning to wherever—and whenever—it came from, he recognizes the other tiny rider: himself!

His search for the time machine, the girl, and his fate leads him to the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library that lends out objects instead of books. Hidden away in the Repository basement is the Wells Bequest, a secret collection of powerful objects straight out of classic science fiction novels: robots, rockets, submarines, a shrink ray—and one very famous time machine. And when Leo’s adventure of a lifetime suddenly turns deadly, he must attempt a journey to 1895 to warn real-life scientist Nikola Tesla about a dangerous invention. A race for time is on!

Would you believe time travel was possible? I wouldn’t and neither did Leo … until a small time machine appears in his room and he sees a tiny girl and another rider…Himself!

When he starts to search for this mystery girl, he finds the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library which lends out famous and even magical objects instead of books. Hidden away in the storage is the Wells Bequest, which holds all the sci-fi machines in all books, including a shrink ray, lasers, robots and that time machine.

When Simon, a worker at the NY Repository, threatens the others with Tesla’s death ray, Leo must attempt a journey to 1895 to stop this contraption from ever getting into Simon’s hands.

When I opted to review this book, I was under the impression it was the sequel to “The Grimm Legacy”. It’s not … exactly. More of a book that has some of the same settings. I admit to being disappointed I didn’t get to see more of the characters I’d come to love in the first book, but once I got past that, I enjoyed The Wells Bequest for what it was instead of being frustrated for what it wasn’t.

Packed full of history, mystery, and of course the romance between characters, The Wells Bequest has a great plot for readers who love science fiction, the great inventions created, and who enjoy learning something new about the world’s greatest inventors.  I especially enjoyed when Leo and the mystery girl, Jaya, must go back to fix what Simon has done to the fabric of time, without ripping their own future to shreds.

Truthfully, the story was a little slow in the beginning, and I found it easy to set the book aside, but after the first five chapters, Polly Shulman had me hooked. It was a real page turner at the end, and it was hard to predict what else might pop out around the corner.

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