Arlo and the Vortex Voyage – Juliet Blair
Well done Juliet Blair! What a great read. Juliet has created a whole new dimension in a believable world. So much so that I imagine young readers may be inclined to search beach rock faces for swirling vortexes. A piece of paper with a scribbled note may never look the same again in case it is a message from another place. You will not be disappointed if you pick up this book.
Arlo and his friend Kate are often up to a bit of mild, harmless trouble; normal for a couple of young teens. Kate who is an experienced young rock climber drags Arlo out for a late night climb to see her unusual find. They soon discover there is a whole lot more to the swirling rocky formation then a pretty pattern though.
The beach community of Southcliff where they live, had an unusual land shift many years ago where an entire section of the town was swallowed up, it seemed that no one involved survived. But as Arlo and Kate soon discover they were the victims of a large vortex opening. They find themselves in the very place the missing piece of Southcliff ended up. While some things have stayed the same, much has changed. The small community of Spindrift as it is known has had to survive without modern technologies and conveniences and very limited resources. The locals have created their own laws and rules and it becomes clear very quickly that Arlo and Kate are a long way from home. With family, school and normality so far away and their lives in a danger they could never have predicted how will they adapt to their strange new world? Will they find a way to get home? With Spindrifts bizarre rules which make life for an outsider impossible, will two inventive modern kids find solutions before it is too late?
Take the plunge with Arlo and the Vortex Voyage, you won’t regret it. Juliet Blair has added the right features for a brilliant junior novel which can cross into a wider audience. The characters are full with individual relatable traits and personal circumstances, such as divided families and the deep-seated emotions that arise from absence. I love that the mysterious world is not too unusual as it really creates such an element of the possible that you can consider the reality of the situation. Like being on a deserted island without your ipod and gameboy; it could happen under the right set of circumstances. The Spindrift residents are a well created mixed bag. Imagine the isolation where a cult like commandment rules over the community, some who follow by the letter and agree whole heartedly, others who do because they don’t have a choice, and those who are secretly looking for a way out. Power, greed, adventure, friendship and a whole lot of other juicy contributions really make this book a gem. Get your hands on it!
A Bug in a Book recommended read.
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