The Edge of Nowhere
Decent start to girl-who-hears-others'-thoughts series.
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Edge of Nowhere is the first in a trilogy with a supernatural twist: Fourteen-year-old Becca can hear the fragmented thoughts of people around her. No violent acts take place in the book, but fear drives many of the young characters. Becca's self-image has an odd prominence in the story. Her mom heckles her about her weight and eating habits, and Becca in turn is hard on herself. Regular biking around the island she's on and circumstances that make it hard for her to get a decent meal give her a svelte figure by book's end, but that may not be a great message for teens with body-image issues.
What's the story?
Becca can hear whispers -- bits of other people's thoughts. When she discovers that her stepfather has committed a terrible crime, she and her mom go on the run to hide from him. Her mother puts Becca on a boat to Whidbey Island, near Seattle, and sets off for Canada to set up a safe new home. But the plan goes awry right from the start, and Becca finds herself completely alone, cut off from her mother and any support. Becca starts to carve out a fragile existence, befriending a talented musician who dropped out of school and a popular boy adopted from Uganda. But she soon finds herself enmeshed in a mystery that strains her new friendships -- and puts her in danger.
Is it any good?
THE EDGE OF NOWHERE is mystery writer Elizabeth George's first novel for younger readers, and it's a long but decent yarn. The supernatural aspect adds complexity without overwhelming the narrative. George visits the story from the perspective of multiple characters, some of whom seem likely to play larger roles in future installments.
That said, even aside from Becca's ability to hear people's thoughts, the plot lacks credibility. Character motivation can be muddy to downright baffling, but George makes an effort to give each person some depth and surprising facets. Hopefully Becca will grow and mature as the series continues.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about Becca's ability to hear "whispers" -- other people's thoughts. Do you think it's an important part of the story or a way for the author to hook into the popularity of teen books with paranormal elements?
- Families can also talk about Becca's decisions. She's scared and on her own at the age of 14. Does she make good choices? What about her mother's choices?
- Why do you think the author focuses on Becca's body image? What do you think of the way the issue is handled here?
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