Owen Birnbaum is a very smart, but very overweight kid. He comes up with inventions that one would never think of. He's also been picked on and made fun of to the point of breaking. The biggest problem Owen has is that he has no one to trust. When he does summon up a little bit of trust in someone, it is broken very easily. I think this makes him feel lonely. One strength that helps him cope is creating his inventions.
I grew up with situations similar to Owen's, except I wasn't as productive as he is. I basically crawled into a hole and eventually dug myself out. Owen has better ways to deal with his problems than I did, and I really wouldn't have any advice for the kid. He does pretty good on his own.
Owen and Jeremy are the most interesting character to me. Jeremy is Owen's sister, and yes that is a boys name, but I will say not her real name.
The story was entertaining and has some mystery surrounding it. I think a young reader would enjoy it because it is realistic. Even the inventions don't go too overboard. The book just came out in May and has already won the Junior Library Guild Award.