Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Me on Wonder at the Edge of the World

Title: Wonder at the Edge of the World
Author: Nicole Helget
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Hallelujah Wonder wants to become one of the first female scientists of the nineteenth century. She knows every specimen and rare artifact that her explorer father hid deep in a cave before he died, and she feels a great responsibility to protect the objects (particularly a mesmerizing and dangerous one called the Medicine Head) from a wicked Navy captain who would use it for evil. Now she and her friend Eustace, a runaway slave, must set out on a sweeping adventure by land and by sea to the only place where no one will ever find the cursed relic....

Wonder at the Edge of the World is a dangerous adventure for one young girl and her friend. They travel across treacherous lands and terrible seas in order to hide something mysterious, but they must be careful along the way. They wouldn't want to fall victim to the relic's whispers.

Hallelujah is a smart, strong-willed, opinionated girl. She's rather matter-of-fact, something of a know-it-all. She has one way of looking at the world, the way she learned from her father: the scientific, adventurous way. She trusts that what he said was true. Why would he lie? He's why she is the way she is, stubborn, only seeing one way forward. For someone so young, she's very set in her ways. But sometimes it's not all about science.

What inquisitive child of an explorer and a scientist, raised on tales of danger and wonder, wouldn't want to travel? To see the sights for themselves? To have an adventure? Lu's father, before his death, presented the world to her as a place to be discovered. A place where secrets wait to be revealed. And so Lu heads out to do what her father didn't have the time to do.

Something dark is circling Lu, something primal, mysterious, and magical. What is the Medicine Head? What are its secrets? Obsession drove her father to learn more about it, and it drives Lu, but in a different way. To get rid of it. To stop the whispers. But will she be able to resist? Will it fall into the wrong hands?

Lu confronts a number of difficult topics on her adventure. Slavery and racism, obsession and greed. Evil. She confronts all of them, ready to push her way through, ready to do her father proud and finish what he could not. I would definitely recommend this to those looking for a complex and thrilling middle grade adventure story.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

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