Hugo is a young boy growing up in Paris. He lives on his own in a train station repairing and maintaining the clocks. He learned all about clockwork from watching his father, who died in a mysterious fire at a museum while working on an amazing machine called an Automaton (learn more about them here: http://www.fi.edu/learn/automaton/index.html). Hugo is determined to repair the Automaton but runs into some problems along the way.
I can't say it's the best written story ever, but perhaps it's just for younger readers. The beautiful illustrations more than make up for it though, keeping you turning the pages while loosing track of the time. Though it is a very thick book, that's mostly due to all of the illustrations. I read the whole thing in two sittings.
And just incase you're interested, the book, I felt, had a very Steampunk way about it. Learn more about Steampunk here:http: //www.brassgoggles.co.uk/brassgoggles/?page_id=18