This is a book that centers on kids and their adventures. Sure, Papa Georges plays a big role, but this book is really all about Hugo and Isabelle and what they end up achieving. Those kids are all about scraped knees, stolen knick-knacks in pockets, and a healthy serving of dirt—they’re not prim and proper and adult.
They think and get tied up in the sorts of things that kids do, and the book is most certainly written for a younger audience. After all, what kid wouldn’t love to imagine a life like Hugo’s? It’s thrilling to imagine being bad enough to steal toys (gasp!) and milk (double gasp!) from booths at the train station.
It’s insane how quickly Hugo’s life gets downright exciting (and a wee bit dangerous) once the old man catches him stealing. With Isabelle at his side, he goes on a bona fide adventure, trying to figure out how to fix the automaton, and how Papa Georges’ past plays into everything. There’s even a not-so-high-speed chase scene on foot, and a daring escape from near-death on train tracks, to boot. If that’s not adventure, well, we don’t know what is.