Best of Texas Book Award: The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann

Each secret must be revealed in order to set history straight and remove a curse that has been on their family for centuries.

The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann has received the Best in Texas Book Award for YA Fiction Adventure Book. The award is presented by the Texas Association of Authors.

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Daniele A. Vann

The Story:

After years of running from his tragic past, Jack Yale books a flight home. With him is a typewriter that is intended to be a gift for his granddaughter, Elizabeth.

The minute Elizabeth’s fingers cradle the large black and cream keys the machine responses: popping, sizzling, and roaring to life with a Whiz-Whiz-BANG! Elizabeth quickly discovers the typewriter has powers beyond anything she has ever seen. The more she types, the more the machine spells out guarded secrets.

Each secret leads them deeper into a haunted past. Each secret must be revealed in order to set history straight and remove a curse that has been on their family for centuries. To solve the mystery, Elizabeth Yale, alongside Jack, will have to crack the code of the Whizbang Machine.

What they find challenges their most basic assumptions of their family, the history of the typewriter, and even Elizabeth’s father’s death. The ultimate goal is to remove the curse. The question is: will Jack and Elizabeth be able to carry out their mission?

Amazon Review:

The Author: Danielle A. Vann grew up in Oklahoma City, OK. Her love of writing sparked a career in journalism. She holds an Associated Press Award. Danielle is the author of Gracie Lou and the Bad Dream Eater and the Gracie Lou Series, The Very Tall Tale of Ranger, the Great Pyrenees, and his Adorable Friend, Miss Keys, The Whizbang Machine, and co-authored Building Faith Through A Carpenter’s Hands. She lives in Mansfield, Texas, with her husband and three children.

My Experience:  I am delighted to have the opportunity to read and review this book. One thing stuck out from this book is the characters’ trip to the Nederland! I was only recently read my first Dutch children’s book and I’m now being introduced to another book with activities taking place in the Nederland. Imagine my surprise and happiness.

In this book, readers will follow the point of view of a 15-year-old Elizabeth Yale. She lives with her mom and they have a good mother-daughter relationship. She’s a typical good girl who has never been out on her own and therefore, more child-like than other badass YA characters in other novels who grew up as an orphan and left to fend for themselves.

Her grandfather, Jack Yale, is her dad’s father. She has a tight bond with her grandpa Jack as well. Jack came back from his trips overseas and brought Elizabeth a typewriter as a gift because she loves typing using a typewriter instead of a laptop. This machine turns out to be a hundred-year-old mystery to be solved. Elizabeth and Jack ended up taking an adventure to solve the mystery all over New York and the Nederland.

“Mr. Yale, we are done here. Best of luck. Don’t get yourself hurt or worse while you are in my country. I would hate to be the one to call your loved ones in the states and tell them your stubbornness lead to your death.”

The chase to uncover the mystery is interesting to read. I like Jack’s cleverness and despite being a 70-year-old, still tough and healthy for a wild goose chase. Elizabeth, despite being referred to as a baby by a bus driver, proved to be braver than her environment presents her to be.

She’s up to the challenge with her grandpa when her curiosity gets the best of her. One part that I didn’t think add up was the key that goes with the doll. Why would it fit the tomb’s padlock easily? And typing on the typewriter, the spaces is irritating to read. Another genre should be added to this book is magic, because it will explain the mystery behind the typewriter or the woman with the necklace or the doll vendor’s gestures with his hands. I like that the mystery heats up toward the end.

“I’m not going to sit around and wait for an officer to instruct me about how I should go about getting answers, Elizabeth. He also said we should trust no one, but him. That’s convenient, don’t you think?”

Pro: solving a puzzle: one clue lead to another, family tree, travel to the Nederland, grandfather-granddaughter duo, humor.

Please click HERE to purchase The Whizbang Machine from Texas Authors.

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