Floors, by Patrick Carman (lexile: 870; AR book level: 5.7; 272 pp)
It’s the rare and lucky boy who gets to stay at the amazingly crazy Whippet Hotel. Built by the eccentric, fabulously wealthy Merganzer Whippet, each of the 9 floors (or are there more?) has a different theme, with signature rooms full of clever gadgets. Want to play the Pinball Room (yes, built just like a giant game)? Or how about the Robot Room? The Railroad Room? And what about the Double Helix, that will take you from the lobby to the roof in 5 seconds?
Ten-year-old Leo Fillmore is that lucky boy. His father is the maintenance man, and together he and Leo keep everything running and the guests — and six very important ducks — happy. But Merganzer Whippet has vanished and things are inexplicably starting to fall apart at the hotel. Is it accidental, or is someone plotting to take over the Whippet?
Then on the 100th day since Mr Whippet’s disappearance, Leo finds a puzzling box addressed to him, apparently from Merganzer himself. Inside are cryptic clues that will lead him on a mysterious hunt throughout the hotel, to places he never knew existed. At stake are his future, his father’s, and that of the hotel he loves.
As some reviews will tell you, this book is not deep. But the characters are crazy, the hotel crazier, and the unfolding mystery fun to read, with a very surprising ending (to me, at least). There are obvious parallels to Roald Dahl, so if you like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, chances are you’ll like Floors. AND it’s the first book in a trilogy! There are two sequels so far, 3 Below, and The Field of Wacky Inventions.
For more about the book, including author interviews, you can also check the Floors website.