By: Amber Kizer
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: July 2011
Readers first met Meridian Sozu in 2010 in the young adult novel, Meridian. She is a ‘fenestra,’ which is a half-human, half-angel link between the living and the dead.
In this second novel, readers first meet a young girl by the name of Juliet Ambrose, who resides at the Dunklebarger Rehab Center in the middle of nowhere. Dunklebarger is literally a prison. Half of this huge, creepy building serves as the “last chance” for old people who come to Dunklebarger to die; while the other half of the institution plays home to children six to sixteen years of age, where they are made to clean, cook, take care of the elderly, get yelled at constantly…basically, they’re inmates.
Juliet is frightened because she is about to turn sixteen and will be thrown out of the place, leaving her younger friends to fend for themselves against a woman who is determined to abuse them all. Feeling alone and unwanted all her life, the only thing Juliet is quite good at is helping the dying. When people are about to pass, she goes to their room and allows them to have a safe journey by leading them to their loved ones on the other side.
Meridian and the love of her life, Tens, are working their way across the country trying to find this fenestra who is in danger. Meridian knows that she exists and that someone is hunting her - one of the evil Nocti. The Nocti are the nemeses of the fenestra’s; their sole purpose on earth is to cause chaos and destruction - to stop the finestras and suck souls into the lightless place.
When Meridian and Tens pull over on the highway to take a break from their journey, they walk into a shop where they drink tea and eat a little something before continuing on. But the ambiance of the place is strange. There are glass balls hanging from the ceiling that light up mysteriously when Meridian sits beneath them; there is an old rehab center that Meridian is drawn to for a reason she doesn’t yet understand; and a town, itself, that seems to be teaming with energy.
Meridian and Tens stay in a cottage behind the tea room exchanging work with the shop’s owner, Joi. Things begin to go a little crazy when they meet up with Rumi, the glassblower in town, who speaks of balls, spirit stones, and old Native American tales about fireflies that once gathered together to save a missing child. Meridian and Tens must find a way to help this unknown fenestra and discover what evil is going on within the walls of Dunklebarger, while Juliet Ambrose - a girl who is about to be taken over by a pretty evil plan - must find a way to believe in angels in order to be saved.
As with the first Meridian novel, this is an excellent story that focuses on faith, friendship, thrills and chills, with a bit of romance thrown in for fun. Although the story goes on a little too long, the premise, characters, and intense quest that Meridian is on, will have readers riveted until the very last page.
Quill Says: A good continuation to a strange, but entertaining story. It will be interesting to see where Meridian and Tens head next.