When I was a kid, I read Laura Ingalls and Ramona. I wanted to read about things that “really happened.” As a 44 year old woman, I have done a 180, plunging head first into fantasy. While when I was little, I didn’t believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, and I thought that there was a clear line between what was real and what was fiction. I now understand that no such separation exists: fantasy creates reality creates fantasy. Exploring that interdependent relationship, something I grew so aware of when I became a mother, is the purpose of this blog, Reel Girl. I am very excited to tell you that I just read my first Middle Grade sci-fi adventure.
Above World, by Jenn Reese, is the story of Aluna, who is a Kampii– a type of mermaid. She lives in the City of Shifting Tides and her people are dying. Above World takes place in the future, when humans have become so overpopulated and destroyed so much of the planet, that the only way creatures can survive is to use “tech” to adapt to new environments. Kampii are able to live under the sea with the help of breathing technology fastened to their throats, but these machines are failing, they are dying. Still, no one has the courage to venture above world to find the source of the problem and do anything about it. No one but Aluna, who is thirteen years old and about to get her legs transformed into a tail.
Aluna is smart, brave, funny, and loyal. Her friend Hoku tags along on her adventure, and it’s great to experience a girl and boy work together to save the world. Aluna is the fighter while Hoku is into technology. The pair are joined by Kali, an Aviar girl, which is like a winged human. The Aviars are a civilization of female flying creatures that remind me of Amazons. There are many powerful women in this group. The final member of the crew is Dash, a horseboy. The group have many adventures and all kinds of battles where we get to see Aluna use not only her martial arts skills, but her brains and her heart.
I’ve been dying to see a writer create an exciting world about mermaids. There’s so much potential with these mythical fishgirls, but in stories and movies, games, and puzzles, we always see them lounging in bikini tops, giving up their voices or brushing their hair. I am so excited to pass Above World on to my daughters. There are two more books in this series and I can’t wait to read them myself.
Reel Girl rates Above World ***HHH***