Independent Publisher Book Award ~ Medalist ~ National Indie Excellence Award ~ Winner for Juvenile Fiction ~ International Rubery Book Award ~ Shortlist ~ Eric Hoffer Award ~ Category Finalist ~ Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Award ~ Honorable Mention
Willa always knew one of her mother's crazy inventions would cause trouble. She just didn't think it would get the whole family banished to Grandeur, a hidden city of Idiot Geniuses deemed too dangerous to remain Outside.
Now, with the help of her cat, the Magnificent Lady Grayson of the Silky White Underbelly, or Just Grayson for Short, Willa and her new friends must scour Grandeur's strange avenues in search of the Clockwerk Boy. Among her encounters: a curiosity shop run by curiously intelligent cats. Gear Hall, where Clockwerks outnumber humans. And the Jolly Rajah, a man-o'-war o' pancakes, where your meal of flapjacks and hot chocolate is served with a brace of pistols and side of grappling hooks. Prepare to be boarded!
"Thoroughly engrossing story recommended for young sci-fi and fantasy fans who hold a prior attraction to books such as John Bellairs' House with a Clock in its Walls." -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
Abducted into a secret world, eleven-year-old Willa Snap takes readers on an imaginative journey through a place filled with mechanical people and fantastical machines. There’s wit and passion in the dialogue as author Richard Due delights with the first installment in the young adult series of Idiot Genius novels, “Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy.” Don’t miss heart-stopping escapes and time machine-building dragons as Due weaves and winds a thrilling, and highly satisfying, novel.
There is plenty to like about this novel. It is full of fun, and clearly the product of a quirky, inventive mind, ideal for children's writing. Willa is a smart, likeable child with no prejudices. She, her genius mother and practical father (no problem with gender stereotypes here) are kidnapped and taken to a world where they experience bizarre encounters with a variety of unlikely entities. The narrative is often very witty and the absurdity of the story is what carries it along. The pace is fast and the plot farcical in places which is what children will like about it. This would appeal to the 10-12 age range, although a certain amount of intelligence is assumed, otherwise too many of the jokes would be missed.
IDIOT GENIUS Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy pairs lovely illustrations by Carolyn Arcabascio with the first book in a satisfyingly original, compelling series for ages 9-12, introducing Willamina Gilbert Snap, an eleven-year-old who discovers there's a force keeping the world from destruction - and that force is comprised of Idiots.
She should know: she's apparently one herself, and her destiny is to never see home again - among other things.
IDIOT GENIUS Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy represents Willa's "first highly illegal memoir" and details her venture into Grandeur, a city of time-traveling dragons, talkative cats, and scientific discoveries unknown to Outside.
There's a lot to relish about IDIOT GENIUS Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy; not the least of which is an approach that offers much food for thought about the structure of Willa's world and the science and psychology behind it: "The problem is that geniuses - both capital G and small g - either think you understand everything they've said as perfectly as they do, or that you're as dumb as dirt. It's one of their biggest flaws."
From the baristas' strange brewed creatures ("a hermit crab the size of a basketball, a foxlike cashier wearing a hat and vest, and a small winged dragon perched in a cage, preening its bright green feathers") to devices that rent unused brain space, Willa sweeps readers along. Sentient Clockwerks, a cat-run curiosity shop, and steam-powered rhino cabs coexist in a setting the author describes as "polypunk."
It's unusual to see such sci-fi depth and detail in a title directed to young adults, but this is precisely what makes IDIOT GENIUS Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy such an appealing production: the characterization is solid while its fantastic setting will intrigue ages well beyond its intended 9-12-year-old audience.
Time vortexes, ghosts, and the costs of navigating this odd world make for a complex but thoroughly engrossing story recommended for young sci-fi and fantasy fans who hold a prior attraction to books such as John Bellairs' House with a Clock in its Walls. From its engaging drawings to its powerful message, Idiot Genius will leave readers musing about Willa Snap's adventures long after the winding story concludes. It is highly recommended for young adults seeking something compellingly different in tone, approach, and perspective.
We’re proud to announce another book award for Richard Due’s Idiot Genius series—this time from Writer’s Digest (an Honorable Mention for middle grade & young adult). This is the 5th time Idiot Geniushas been recognized this year. We’re so proud we typeset a new first page for the print edition!
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy is an Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist!
Oh, Snap! Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy has been shortlisted for the Internatinal Rubery Book Award for Young Adult.
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy wins a National Indie Excellence Award!
Idiot Genius: Willa Snap and the Clockwerk Boy wins an Independent Publishing Book Award for Juvenile Fiction!