The Mona Lisa Key

The Mona Lisa Key

When Matt, Ruby, and Corey Hudson discover their subway train is actually a time-traveling eighteenth-century frigate captained by a mysterious pirate, they are thrown into a series of adventures that offer cryptic clues about their past and their future....

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Title:The Mona Lisa Key
Author:Liesl Shurtliff
Rating:

The Mona Lisa Key Reviews

  • VIBookCrate

    The Hudson siblings have very few rules. They are not allowed to talk to strangers and they are definitely not allowed to take public transportation without an adult. One morning after their parents mysteriously take off in the early hours – the children decide to break those rules and take the subway to school by themselves – which turns out to be the time traveling ship the “Vermillion” that is captained by a mysterious time pirate named Captain Vincent and his crew of time misfits.

    The childre

    The Hudson siblings have very few rules. They are not allowed to talk to strangers and they are definitely not allowed to take public transportation without an adult. One morning after their parents mysteriously take off in the early hours – the children decide to break those rules and take the subway to school by themselves – which turns out to be the time traveling ship the “Vermillion” that is captained by a mysterious time pirate named Captain Vincent and his crew of time misfits.

    The children set off on an adventure through time under the impression that they are saving precious items from destruction. They begin to discover that there are many secrets that the captain is holding close and as they start to dig for the truth they begin to get in serious danger.

    This is a fantastic first of a series from author Liesl Shurtliff. It is action packed and full of intrigue. I think that all middle grade readers will enjoy it – including teens and adults. I personally cannot wait to see what happens next!

  • Mindy

    I am a huge fan of Liesl Shurtliff's books. She always writes fun, sweet, all out wonderful books, so I was excited to read this new series from her! The Mona Lisa Key is a nonstop, time traveling, thrill ride of an adventure. I absolutely loved it. The characters are fantastic and the siblings are great together. Corey made me smile lots of times and Ruby is a doll. Mateo (Matt) is the anchor of the group. He is super smart and a bit of a mystery himself. I really enjoyed their time traveling a

    I am a huge fan of Liesl Shurtliff's books. She always writes fun, sweet, all out wonderful books, so I was excited to read this new series from her! The Mona Lisa Key is a nonstop, time traveling, thrill ride of an adventure. I absolutely loved it. The characters are fantastic and the siblings are great together. Corey made me smile lots of times and Ruby is a doll. Mateo (Matt) is the anchor of the group. He is super smart and a bit of a mystery himself. I really enjoyed their time traveling adventures, but I was very suspicious of their company. They travel to Paris, India, and the famous Game Six (which I personally thought was so fun, I love baseball), to name a few. There are many secrets and twists and turns I don't want to spoil, but it has me eagerly waiting for the next book!

    5 out of 5 stars. There are so many enjoyable twists and the author does a great job of planting hints throughout to keep the reader guessing! I didn't want to stop reading at times. I had to find out what happened next.

  • Kales

    What a surprising and delightful book! I did not expect to love it do much and now it has turned into one of my favorite middle grade reads in a long time.

    I originally picked up this book because of the time travel element and the whole idea of time pirates appealed to me. It was slow to start, I mean seriously slow. We didn't get to time travel or pirates or anything weird until at least 60 pages in. But once we got there, the action just kept going. About halfway through, it didn't stop. I cou

    What a surprising and delightful book! I did not expect to love it do much and now it has turned into one of my favorite middle grade reads in a long time.

    I originally picked up this book because of the time travel element and the whole idea of time pirates appealed to me. It was slow to start, I mean seriously slow. We didn't get to time travel or pirates or anything weird until at least 60 pages in. But once we got there, the action just kept going. About halfway through, it didn't stop. I couldn't put it down. And it had intensity, mystery and a beautiful conclusion with just enough to make me want to pick up the sequel whenever that comes out.

    One of my absolute favorite things about this book was the siblings. I was anxious originally about the dynamic of the siblings, like it was going to be too Kane Chronicles-like for me. But no, they turned into their own people with diverse interests and an intense loyalty and love. The trio reminded me of young Harry, Ron and Hermione. And I am one of three and it's the best and strongest number. The whole concept of family woven throughout the story was refreshing, well-done and made my eyes sting a little.

    The adventure was a whirlwind once it got going. Again, I was reminded of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and how the author lets the kids go through some crazy and scary scenarios despite the fact that they are only preteens. They are brave and scared and smart and silly and all the things kids should be in those situations.

    I want to mention also the diversity in this book and the fact that it didn't shy away from hard subjects such as racism and women's rights. Because they travel to different times, the siblings encounter many different people of a variety of backgrounds and they handle it with as much grace as they can at their age. But they are also willing to learn and listen about Jim Crow laws and 9/11 and women's equality. In that same vane, the Hudsons are a mixed family, where their mom is from Morocco, their dad is American, and Matt is adopted from Colombia. It's awesome that this unconventional family is at the center of this story. As well as a diverse crew on the ship. It was woven seamlessly into the story, as it damn well should be.

    I wish I had more of an answer to Matt's seizures than I got and I wish it had picked up a little more, not taken so long to get to the action. But that almost makes me even more excited for the sequel, where we can get more answers and dive right into the world, without so much explanation. I would recommend this to middle grade readers hands down but even some older kids and adults would like this reckless and entertaining adventure too.

    Conclusion: Keep and might even get in Hardcover

  • Grace T

    Really fun middle-grade book! Time travel, pirates, betrayal, new friendships and old siblingships. You think it's tying up nicely, and then--it does, but you need the second book anyway because one very important question is yet to be answered.

  • Stefanie

    What a fun time traveling adventure!!! The Hudson children’s parents work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their frazzled start to the school day leads them to a subway car adventure they never imagined! Once they discover they have entered a time traveling ship, they don’t want to leave. They meet Captain Vincent and the ship’s crew and take part in stealing the Mona Lisa in Paris in 1911 (they think to save it from a future heist). As their journey in time continues, they realize it’s not al

    What a fun time traveling adventure!!! The Hudson children’s parents work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their frazzled start to the school day leads them to a subway car adventure they never imagined! Once they discover they have entered a time traveling ship, they don’t want to leave. They meet Captain Vincent and the ship’s crew and take part in stealing the Mona Lisa in Paris in 1911 (they think to save it from a future heist). As their journey in time continues, they realize it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. This story made me laugh out loud and I enjoyed visualizing all the places in time the kids traveled to.

  • Teresa Osgood

    The idea of a time-traveling pirate with a small, handheld controlling device reminded me, immediately, of the old

    show. Ah, happy memories. This story is actually completely different, which is fine. The device controls a shape-shifting ship, which is actually pretty cool. Matt and his siblings interact in believable sibling ways. The time pirate charmingly convinces Matt of his good intentions of stealing things from real thieves, with intent to return them later. However, his mission

    The idea of a time-traveling pirate with a small, handheld controlling device reminded me, immediately, of the old

    show. Ah, happy memories. This story is actually completely different, which is fine. The device controls a shape-shifting ship, which is actually pretty cool. Matt and his siblings interact in believable sibling ways. The time pirate charmingly convinces Matt of his good intentions of stealing things from real thieves, with intent to return them later. However, his missions seem more or less aimless. Even the kids notice the lack of direction in the middle of the book. It certainly gets more exciting at the end, but the whole story is full of clues that the conclusion will not happen in this book. It's an okay story, but Captain Vincent is no Phineas Bogg.

  • Valerie McEnroe

    I'm giving this 2 stars only because it's written by Liesl Shurtliff who wrote the best fairytale series out there. I'm a big fan of hers, so this book is a major disappointment. She had me in the beginning. I love the idea of three kids with an overprotective mom who ironically collects old swords. She doesn't let them ride the subway, but kids will be kids. Late to school, they take the wrong subway train and end up on a time-traveling carrier than changes into trains, ships, cars, and any oth

    I'm giving this 2 stars only because it's written by Liesl Shurtliff who wrote the best fairytale series out there. I'm a big fan of hers, so this book is a major disappointment. She had me in the beginning. I love the idea of three kids with an overprotective mom who ironically collects old swords. She doesn't let them ride the subway, but kids will be kids. Late to school, they take the wrong subway train and end up on a time-traveling carrier than changes into trains, ships, cars, and any other type of transport that fits the need at the time. The first mission is to the Lourve in Paris in the early 1900s to intercept the theft of the Mona Lisa.

    I'm not going into details of the plot. I'll just mention some of the problematic parts that made the story one long boring test of my patience. For 2/3 of the book the plot meanders from location to location with no understanding of where it's leading. There are massive amounts of description that aren't necessary. Shurtliff's attempts to throw the reader off track fail miserably. Aside from the three kids, the other characters are poorly developed. In my opinion if a character can be taken out of a story without changing it at all, then that character isn't developed well. I felt this way about most of the character's on the transport machine (not even sure what to call it). Shurtliff probably had a great story in her head, but it didn't transfer well to paper.

    Time travel books are really hard to pull off. It's confusing. If you're not a pro, my advice is to stay away.

  • michelle

    * Thank you to Eidelweiss and Harper Collins for an advanced DRC of this book. All opinions are my own.

    While a big fan of Liesl Shurtliff, this particular book didn't grab me the way I had hoped it would. The concept of three kids traveling through time seemed fascinating, but I kept waiting for something to actually happen. I was also waiting for their parents to become a part of the story, especially as I figured out their role quite early on in the book, and it seemed like that was where the

    * Thank you to Eidelweiss and Harper Collins for an advanced DRC of this book. All opinions are my own.

    While a big fan of Liesl Shurtliff, this particular book didn't grab me the way I had hoped it would. The concept of three kids traveling through time seemed fascinating, but I kept waiting for something to actually happen. I was also waiting for their parents to become a part of the story, especially as I figured out their role quite early on in the book, and it seemed like that was where the drama would actually come in. The last third of this book was probably the best part where the action really turned up.

  • Nicole Wagner

    Disclaimer: did not finish.

    I received an advance reader copy of this book, and I'm aware that it's an uncorrected proof. But the continuity problems were bad enough to make this already bland book plainly unreadable.

    Example: trio of kids gets on subway on their way to school. It's April, it's New York, they're rushing, it's 8-ish a.m. The mysterious train is a time machine. They get off the train and it's Paris, 1911. The sky is blue, without a cloud in it. They enter a museum. AND SUDDENLY MOO

    Disclaimer: did not finish.

    I received an advance reader copy of this book, and I'm aware that it's an uncorrected proof. But the continuity problems were bad enough to make this already bland book plainly unreadable.

    Example: trio of kids gets on subway on their way to school. It's April, it's New York, they're rushing, it's 8-ish a.m. The mysterious train is a time machine. They get off the train and it's Paris, 1911. The sky is blue, without a cloud in it. They enter a museum. AND SUDDENLY MOONLIGHT IS STREAMING IN THROUGH THE WINDOWS. IT'S THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.

    I could let this glaring editorial miss go if the book had enough for me to chew on. But it didn't. I love young adult novels, and I appreciate time travel and adventure novels, but this one didn't offer me enough, soon enough, and after about 80 pages I put it down for good.

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