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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Meridian* by Amber Kizer- young adult book review
Also by Amber Kizer:

Pieces of Me
by Amber Kizer
Grades 10+ 320 pages Delacorte August 2009 Hardcover    

Meridian Sozu doesnít know who she really is, or why animals always die around her. She feels like an outcast, and for good reason. Most people shun her, think sheís weird, maybe fear her, even if just a little - fearing that they might be the next to die. Her troubles start to escalate as she approaches her sixteenth birthday. She becomes a danger even to her own family, who send her off on a bus to live with an aunt sheís never met before while they move to another town.

Meridian finds that merely moving to live with her one hundred-six-year-old Auntie in Revelation, Colorado, doesnít mean sheís ran away from all of her troubles: she is a Fenestra, a half-angel, half-human being who is a link, a window between the living and the dead, and the demonic dark forces, the Aternocti. Will Meridian survive to fulfill her destiny - to help the dying get to the afterlife - or will the Aternocti turn her into one of them?

The Aternocti look like you or I, just like the Fenestra do. Only a few humans can tell the difference. The Fenestra, to some, give off a radiance, while the Aternoctiís eyes look dark and soulless, though they may appear otherwise handsome or attractive and be quite charismatic in other respects. The Fenestra are a dying breed, while the Aternocti are growing in numbers and strength. The Aternocti have targeted Meridian, wanting her to kill herself in return for them giving her her life back. Sheís sure she would never commit suicide, but when the evil Bible-thumping Reverend Perimo, who is actually an Aternocti, threatens to kill her family unless she cooperates with his nefarious plans, Meridian discovers itís difficult to refuse his demands.

Fortunately for Meridian, her Auntie, also a Fenestra, has a vast wealth of knowledge to pass on to Meridian; while she still can, she teaches the teenage girl all she knows. Also, her Auntie provides Meridian with a Protector, a handsome teenage boy known as Tens (short for Tension) who also lives at her house. His wolf-like dog, Custos, is another source of protection for them all, and an interesting character in her own right.

Meridian experiences intense pain when the dying try to pass through her. She has to learn how to let them through a window in a room she imagines in her head without them getting entangled with her and either inadvertently, or on purpose, dragging her through with them. If a dying person did so, Meridianís life would also end. Her Auntie has to get her to learn in time, not only for the sake of easing the transition to the afterlife for others but also to serve as a window for herself, when her own time comes.

Her Auntie has a journal that many Fenestra have written their experiences in to pass along their combined knowledge to future generations of Fenestra. This is yet another tool for Meridian, who is fascinated to read about the lives of other Fenestra and to learn from their observations and experiences.

Revelation is not the friendliest town to live in, thanks to Reverend Perimoís growing influence and power in the community. He takes over the stores, the restaurants, the press, and most importantly, the hearts, minds, and souls of many of the townspeople. Her Auntieís Land Rover gets its tires slashed, and itís all that Tens can do to keep up with replacing them. Perimo convinces the townspeople that Meridian and her Auntie and Tens are responsible for crops and kinfolk dying, and that they are witches. The Bibleís remedy for dealing with witches is for believers in God to put them to death.

Meridian is one of the best paranormal young adult novels Iíve read in a long time. Though it features a young woman in the title role, guys will probably also like to read it - itís full of action and suspense, and has a cool wolf and a supernatural theme unique to the genre. No vampires, werewolves, or zombies here. The clash between good and evil is represented by the Fenestras and the Aternocti, and they battle for the very souls of humanity.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Douglas R. Cobb/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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