The summer of his thirteenth birthday, Jeremy Fink receives a mysterious delivery – a wooden box engraved with the words "the meaning of life: for Jeremy Fink on his thirteenth birthday." The box, it turns out, was left by his father, who died five years earlier. It has four different locks which must be opened with the correct keys or the contents will be destroyed. However, the keys are nowhere to be found. Jeremy and his best friend Lizzy embark on a search for the missing keys that takes them all over New York, where they meet an eclectic group of people including an elderly pawnshop owner and a famous astronomer, each with his/her own words of wisdom to impart. As the summer progresses, Jeremy learns, among other things, that the question may not be “what is the meaning of life,” but rather, “why are we here?”
This book is a little long, but the two main characters are really fun and likeable, and there are several twists and turns to keep the story interesting. Review by Jane Malmberg.