cover image Alien Secrets

Alien Secrets

Annette Curtis Klause. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (227pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30928-8

After being expelled from boarding school, 13-year-old Puck travels alone to the planet Aurora, where she is to join her parents. During the intergalactic journey, she is caught up in a web of murder, intrigue and smuggling surrounding an alien named Hush and an artifact stolen from him. Both Puck and Hush are exceptionally well drawn and appealing, as are many of the secondary characters. The villains, however, are not quite as convincing nor as well motivated. Klause ( The Silver Kiss ) has done an extraordinary job of imagining Hush's culture and his pain at having lost the artifact, but her story suffers from problems of pacing. It takes Klause almost half the novel to establish all the plot points needed to generate real suspense, and after that leisurely set-up, the author moves too quickly, blurring details and trampling on what could have been exquisite moments. Ages 10-14. (Sept.)