Thursday, April 29, 2010
By Teri Hall
Dial Books, 2010. 219 pp. Juvenile science fiction.
Rachel leads a lonely life as the daughter of the housekeeper on The Property. She spends her time studying "official" government texts, hiding in the orchid greenhouse and searching online for stories about The Others who live Away on the other side of The Line. In fact pretty much all of her spare time is spent obsessing about Away. One day she discovers a recorded plea for help from the other side of The Line. She bravely steps forth to give aid to the unknown. Things start to spiral out of her control and she is faced with facts about her parents that she never dreamed of.
The futuristic Unified States is only vaguely described and I was a little confused about the back history that led to the creation of the Line. Initially the story seemed a little slow to take off, giving the reader a good understanding of the characters. Adversely, the end seemed a bit too rushed and concluded quite abruptly. Obviously there is going to be a sequel, but such sudden endings aren't always the best. Certain aspects were predictable, but all in all, this was a decent futuristic sci-fi novel for elementary school-age kids. For an author's first novel this was good, but I definitely hope the sequel is better.