written by Edward Kay
Doubleday Canada, 2009
978-0-385-66706-7 (pb) $14.95
for Grades 4 and up
Fiction--Adventure--Science Television writer Edward Kay's first novel is a great success. The story is thought provoking, fast paced and sure to capture the interest of children and adults alike. Kay's narrative insightfully captures the complex feelings of a misunderstood child and the journey we all must take towards self-understanding within the framework of a satisfying adventure.
The story begins at a science fair being held at Downview Public School, where we are introduced to our brilliant heroine Amanda Forsythe. Though extremely bright and talented, Amanda does not win at the science fair. She is unfairly beaten by two other more popular classmates who resort to parlour tricks and crowd pleasing tactics to take first prize. Amanda's defeat soon turns into triumph when she is approached by two scientists from the STAR (Superior Thinking & Advanced Research) Academy. Amanda is offered a full scholarship to the school of her dreams and soon embarks on an adventure of a life time.
At first STAR Academy seems ideal as Amanda meets like-minded boys and girls interested in the pursuit of knowledge, science and friendship. But she soon realizes that even perfect schools have their own problems when she meets the rich and spoiled Eugenia Asberger, who insists on making her life difficult. Then Amanda and her new friends discover that everything is not what it seems at Star Academy--and in fact, the institution hides several menacing secrets--when a classmate goes missing. They must rely on their intellect and intuition to save not only their friends, but the world as well.
Star Academy is sure to become a favourite, as it brings together interesting characters, cool experiments, stellar inventions and a mystery that keeps the reader wanting more.
Trevor J. Froates is a teacher-librarian in Toronto.