cover image Beyond the Labyrinth

Beyond the Labyrinth

Gillian Rubinstein. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (245pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05899-2

Winner of the Australian Children's Book Council 1989 Book of the Year award, this dark, foreboding story is about two children--and several adults--who feel trapped by their lives. The one thing Vicky and Brenton have in common is the feeling that they are surrounded by aliens. Vicky, staying with Brenton's family for the summer while her parents are in Africa, feels completely unwelcome. Meanwhile Brenton closets himself away, scorning his family's blatant disregard for the world's problems--primarily, the threat of nuclear war. When the pair discovers a real alien living on the beach near their house, they begin to share a powerful secret that could change their lives. Rubenstein offers the reader a choice of endings, echoing the format of a game that figures heavily in the plot. This, however, runs the risk of diffusing the story's impact: the sensitive reader who has persevered through the weighty, somewhat despairing build-up may feel manipulated into choosing the ``right'' ending. At times suspenseful and provocative, this is not a novel for the faint of heart. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)