A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Although the dystopian Across a Star-Swept Sea was inspired by the classic turn-of-the-century adventure novel The Scarlet Pimpernel, readers won't learn directly about the post-French Revolution politics that inspired the original book. Still, this story may inspire some thinking about class prejudice and the ways political movements inspired by good intentions can go awry when leaders have absolute power.
Fight for what you believe in. We can only be responsible for our own actions, and we must make those actions count. The way we react to evil defines what kind of person we are.
Positive Role Models
Persis is a hero in every sense of the word: She's brave, smart, and noble. She risks her own life to save others and comes up with complex plans to help political prisoners escape. The League of the Wild Poppy -- her friends who help her in her cause -- is made up mostly of intelligent, brave women who, though they support Persis, don't hesitate to question their leader's actions if they don't agree with them. Persis' love interest is a scientist whose goal is to find a cure for a debilitating brain disease.
Violence & Scariness
Mistreatment of slaves and prisoners is understood to be physically violent, but there's no graphic description of exactly how they're tortured or hurt. Guards have guns and shoot at people, but no one's killed. There are a couple of hand-to-hand conflicts, but no one's seriously hurt.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Three passionate kisses.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters in Across a Star-Swept Sea drink "kiwine" (kiwi wine) at parties, which makes them tipsy. They also take "genetemps," drugs that change your genetic makeup, and "pinks" are pills given to prisoners to make them lose their mental faculties. Traditional recreational drugs are not mentioned.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Across a Star-Swept Sea is a dystopian novel by Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars) based on the classic novel The Scarlet Pimpernel and includes political discussion about the responsibilities of the rich to those less fortunate. A young girl goes on dangerous spy missions to protect people from being imprisoned. Though there are hints of violence toward prisoners -- perhaps even torture -- there's no graphic detail. There's romance and three passionate kisses.
Is It Any Good?
There's a lot going on in Across a Star-Swept Sea. To start with, the political climate is based on the aftermath of the French Revolution but includes its own vocabulary of "aristos," "regs," and various high-tech terms, along with an apocalyptic backstory about how the society ended up on these islands in the first place. There are pro-revolution and anti-revolution factions, as well as genetic manipulation and women's rights (or lack of them). Also, in the large cast of characters, many are not whom or what they appear to be.
However, readers who stick with the somewhat confusing beginning will be rewarded with a rich and exciting story, filled with heroic spying adventures, double- and triple-crosses, and just the right amount of romance. Fans of Peterfreund's first book set in this world, For Darkness Shows the Stars, will enjoy a brief appearance by its main characters.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.