Floors by Patrick Carman is a juvenile puzzle novel. Next to the young adult dystopia, the juvenile puzzle novel is probably the genre where I most easily get "genre fatigue." This one was not good enough to raise it above its peers.
Leo is the son of the handyman at the Whippet
Hotel, the quirkiest hotel in New York City. Merganzer Whippet, the
hotel's enigmatic founder, filled the hotel with theme rooms, wacky
inventions, and a rooftop duck pond. Then he disappeared. Leo and his
dad are doing the best they can to keep the hotel in working order, but
it's difficult . . . especially when somebody seems to be sabotaging the
hotel's delicate operational balance. Is it the surly front desk clerk?
One of the guests? The shady developers who want to buy the Whippet and
tear it down so they can build a "real" hotel on the prime real estate
that the Whippet occupies? In the midst of the turmoil, Leo, his new
friend Remi, and a few highly intelligent ducks discover a quest left
behind by Merganzer Whippet himself. Will solving the mystery help them
save the hotel?
There's something appealing for young readers
about books with this sort of fantastical setting. The Whippet seems
like a cross between a hotel and an amusement park, and I can see kids
really getting into the descriptions of Leo's adventures in the room
that's built like a giant pinball machine, or on the double helix
high-speed elevator. This adult reader was less amused. The quest didn't
really engage me -- I found myself really disliking the absent
Merganzer, and the conclusion of the story solidified that opinion. The
characters were all fairly flat, as well. I might recommend this book to
young readers who can't get enough of books like The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Westing Game, but those books are definitely superior to this one.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)