The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 23, 2010

Book review: Teen characters go on great adventures

By Jeana Gockley
Globe Columnist

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau

6th-12th Grade

Much to her chagrin, fifteen year-old Zeeta’s life could easily be described as a never-ending vacation.

She and her impulsive English-teaching mom move to a new country almost yearly, in spite of Zeeta’s dreams of having a normal life, This year, they are off to an Ecuadorian town called Otavalo.

While on the flight to her new home, Zeeta spies a teenage boy who looks like he could be an Otavale–o Indian, though she later learns that he is an American teenager named Wendell who is searching for his birth parents. Wendell enlists Zeeta’s help; soon, a lead takes them to an indigenous village called Agua Santa, where they search to uncover the truth behind Wendell’s heritage.

Resau, who also authored the award winning title “Red Glass,” has an extensive knowledge of Latin America and has used it to craft an unforgettable story.

“The Indigo Notebook” has something for everyone -- adventure, mystery, intrigue, teen angst, memorable characters, an exotic setting and love. Tween and teen readers will find themselves transported through Zeeta’s first-person narrative and will relate to the charactersâ struggle to fit in and feel normal.

Readers will also be happy to note that Resau donates a portion of the royalties from all her books to Latin American indigenous rights organizations. I highly recommend this title.

Raiders’ Ransom by Emily Diamand

4th-8th Grade

Emily Diamand’s debut novel takes place during the early 23rd century, when most of what used to be England is underwater.

The “Collapse” has left only the Last Ten Counties of England on the southernmost tip above water and a fear of technology has caused the English to revert back to a lifestyle similar to that of the 18th century.

Lilly, 13, lives a quiet life in a small English fishing village with her grandmother and her faithful seacat. When raiders murder her grandmother and kidnap the Prime Minister’s 7-year-old daughter Lexy, she finds herself stealing a jewel and sailing miles from home on a mission to get Lexy back and prevent a war between the raiders and England.

Zephaniah’s father is the leader of the raiding clan --Êthe Angel Isling Family -- that stole Lexy. The 13-year-old’s loyalties to his family are tested after meeting Lexy and befriending Lilly. 

Diamand, winner of the London Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, provides an even look at Lilly’s and Zeph’s lives using alternating chapters to tell this fast-paced action tale. Readers will find this adventure hard to put down and unanswered questions in the final chapters will leave them looking for a sequel.


Jeana Gockley is the children's librarian at the Joplin Public Library.