Penni Russon, Author . HarperCollins/Greenwillow $15.99 (326p) ISBN 978-0-06-079389-0

Australian author Russon's supernatural thriller succeeds thanks to an engrossing, off-kilter mystery and a cast of adolescent characters rendered through pitch-perfect dialogue. Sixteen-year-old Undine begins to have bad feelings, the kind she hasn't had since her beloved stepfather was killed in an accident almost four years prior. She had premonitions before that tragedy, and now she is feeling uneasy again—and begins hearing a voice telling her, "It's time to come home." A stanza from The Tempest , written on a paper bearing her name as its watermark, ends up on her doorstep, and she and her best friend, Trout, become convinced that her father (whom she had been told died before she was born) is alive and reaching out to her. Undine sets off to find him, leading to an intelligent and thoughtful showdown of sorts between the heroine and her parents, both of whom harbor deep secrets. The narrative gets a bit too clever in places (her father, who sent her the Shakespeare verse, is named Prospero Marine) but the atmosphere is involving. Undine and Trout, two-thirds of a romantic triangle, make a compelling and believable pair, grappling with the equally daunting burdens of newfound magical ability and of ordinary high school. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 03/06/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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