Saturday, October 2, 2010
Alien Secrets by Annette Curtis Klause is a book I remember from grade school or so. Puck, the novel's protagonist, is a young girl, good-hearted but curious and not at all docile. Really, I think she's quite well-written, with Klause balancing Puck's troublesome tomboy aspects with her respect for people who prove themselves worthy of trust and her schoolgirl crush on a college-age older guy. Okay, so that this isn't all being said in a vacuum, have some plot. See, after being kicked out of school, Puck is being shipped off from Earth to reunite with her parents on an alien planet. On the ship she meets an alien from the same planet to which she is headed, a fellow named Hush who has been entrusted with a symbol of his people's freedom. However, someone on the ship is out to steal the artefact, and if that's not bad enough, Puck is pretty sure that one of the other passengers is a murderer. With cunning and courage, Puck has to make friends and unmask enemies, all without ending up lost in hyperspace forever. Anyway, with that sketch out of the way, I have to say one of the things that stuck with me about this novel was the grown-up atmosphere of it all. That is, nothing objectionable, but this book does not talk down to the reader. If you're a kid reading this, you're in Puck's shoes, trying to understand what's going on with the all-adult crew and passengers. There's real danger, and Puck's not treated with kid gloves just because she's, well, a kid. The mystery is pretty well set up, and the climax of the novel is definitely exciting. Overall, this is a very solid read, and a good YA novel for those who are looking for something outside the norm.