Tag Archives: Young Adult novel

Heart of Danger by Fleur Beale

We were first introduced to Juno and the people of Taris in Juno of Taris, what would become the first in a trilogy.  I picked up Juno of Taris on a recommendation of another children’s librarian that I worked with and was blown away by the community that Fleur Beale had created.  For those of you who haven’t read the first book, it’s best to start at the beginning, but one of the great things about the subsequent books in the trilogy is that you get a summary of the story so far before you start.  I don’t know if this was an idea of the publisher, Random House New Zealand, or Fleur herself, but I think it’s something that all trilogies/series should have, especially when the books come out a year apart.

Heart of Danger starts off exactly where Fierce September ended, with Juno and her family arriving at their new home.  It’s not long before Juno’s sister, Hera senses danger and they decide to move back to New Plymouth and Fairlands School, where they have the protection of Willem.  Juno is reluctant to move back to Fairlands, where Hilto’s son, Thomas goes to school.  There’s also the handsome Ivor, whose advances make Juno uncomfortable.  Her feelings for Ivor are confusing and she’s not sure how to deal with them on the outside world.  When Hera is taken by mysterious strangers who mean to do her harm, Juno must use her special mind powers to help her save her sister.  But will this be enough to save them both from the Children of the Coming Dawn?

Heart of Danger is the perfect conclusion to this brilliant trilogy.  There is a sense of impending doom from the opening chapter which builds to a thrilling climax, but there are also alot of questions answered about the establishment of Taris, the extent of Juno’s powers, and Juno’s biological family.  The climax of the story comes just over halfway through the book and I was wondering how it would finish, but it left plenty of time for Fleur Beale to wrap up the story of the people of Taris and end on a positive note.  I’ve really enjoyed seeing how Juno has developed over the series and how the people of Taris have adapted to the outside world.  I loved how they all managed to hold onto little aspects of life on Taris, while becoming citizens of Aotearoa.  I know I’ll miss Juno, her family and her friends, but I’ll enjoy starting from the beginning again and taking that journey with them once more.  In the mean time, I’ll go to www.randomhouse.co.nz/heartofdanger to read Nash’s Story, an extra short story that Fleur Beale has written, to be read after Heart of Danger.

Recommended for 12+    10 out of 10


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Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is the absolutely amazing debut  Young Adult novel by Beth Revis and I can already tell that it is going to be one of my favourite books of the year.

The story starts with Amy who, along with her parents, is being prepared to be cryogenically frozen for the next 300 years as they travel to a new planet.  Her parents and the other adults on the ship all have special skills that will help to colonise this new planet, while Amy is a nonessential, just there because of her parents.    There are also others on board the ship, Godspeed, who are not frozen but keeping the ship moving on it’s course.  Elder is one of these people.  He is the youngest person on the ship and the one chosen to lead the next generation.  When Amy is violently woken 50 years before they are due to arrive on the new planet, she creates tension in Elder’s carefully ordered society.  On a ship in the middle of space where everyone has the same skin and hair colour, similar features, and never questions the rules, Amy is not welcomed.Amy’s questions and Elder’s own discoveries lead them to uncover the lies that Eldest has been telling them all about the ship and their quest for Centauri-Earth.

Beth Revis leads you on a rollercoaster ride, with lots of unexpected twists and turns.  Across the Universe has something for just about every reader – a dystopian society, science fiction, mystery, murder, and a touch of romance.  It’s the first book in a new trilogy and I really can’t wait to read more.  Get your hands on one of the hottest YA novels of 2011!

You can also check out Beth’s website and read her very entertaining blog.

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