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This issue’s cover illustration by Catherine Rayner is from Solomon Crocodile. Catherine Rayner is interviewed on p.14 of this issue. Thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for their help with this May cover.
By clicking here you can view, print or download the fully artworked Digital Edition of BfK 194 May 2012 .
A mother with a bipolar condition; a father who is head of the counterintelligence unit at San Diego's FBI office and hardly ever at home; a younger brother to whom she's been 'pretty much the only parent he has known': 17-year-old Janelle has a great deal to live with. And 'live' is, in this context, the appropriate word, given that just as Norris's novel opens her heroine has been knocked down by a truck and dies - only to be miraculously returned to life thanks to the intervention of a likeable floppy-haired young man called Ben. This is California, where, it would seem, the abnormal is the normal and Janelle's resuscitation is merely the prelude to a sequence of events which, as they unravel, will see Janelle fall in love with Ben while at the same time uncovering the realities of his 'other' life. Their relationship grows against a background of accelerating universal chaos and natural disasters, threatening the end of the world itself. The countdown to a cataclysmic wipe-out has begun and the young people's sense of urgency in their attempt to prevent total devastation is excellently conveyed in the novel's structure. The occasional references to The X-Files and the concern with such matters as alternate worlds and the portals which allow – not without catastrophic consequences – for passage between them locate the novel in a genre which will appeal to readers interested in multiverse theory, though at times the technological detail - and the author's fondness for acronyms - may baffle the non-specialist. By way of compensation, however, there are some touching and tender scenes of young love, including an ending beautifully prefigured in the use of Christina Rossetti's lines – 'Remember me when I am gone away' – as epigraph