By Farrar Straus Giroux

Reviewed for Middle School, 2008

Petra's life has never been a normal one. But it has been a happy one, helping run a small store selling metal machines handcrafted by her dad, Mikal Kronos. This dad of hers has a strange talent-- he can move metal using only his mind-- which leads to some cool perks, like a pet tin spider named Astrophil that has tiny metallic vocal chords and a voracious love of books. When Mikal Kronos is commissioned by the prince of Bohemia to build the world's most astonishing astronomical clock, it seems that fame and fortune will follow...until he arrives home blind. It's up to Petra to figure out why the prince has stolen her father's eyes and enchanted them, and how to get them back. A breakneck fantasy novel with a strong female lead is hard to find. Don't let this one pass you by. (Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.95)