Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.First Line/Page: The novel actually doesn't start with a sentence. It starts with a serious of pictures that introduces the reader to the setting and character--Hugo and a train station. Only then, when we're intrigued and pictures cannot possibly tell us any more, does the narrative begin. Some amazing first lines I share with friends to tempt them to read. With Hugo Cabret, I show them the first few pages. Sometimes I merely flip to a random illustrated page and they stare in wonder at the art of it.
Brownie Points: The plot, characters, writing, it all holds you captive. The illustrations are the cherry on top, but necessary as well. The whole book is a Brownie.
Recommendation: Everyone should read it. And what's great, is that it appeals to any age group. It's simple enough for children to understand, but complex and rich enough for adults to remain captivated.
Would I represent it? If I'd had a chance to represent this very book, I hope I would have had enough sense to latch on. However, when it comes to art, I'm pretty much lost, so more likely than not I would have passed (hard to admit that). I hope no one makes this the next "big thing," like all the literary classic spin offs of a couple years ago. I'd love to see Selznick's work stand alone forever, with no contenders/pretenders. It's unique and it should stay that way.
Also, Selznick had another book released just last month, titled Wonderstruck, that for some reason I haven't read yet, but plan to immediately. You should too.