Alexandra Jennings, 16, is accustomed to travelling. She frequently travels from one country to another and from one airport to another because her parents are archaeologists. She is dreading being abandoned at a boarding school though, while they travel to a Russian dig site in Siberia. After receiving a chilly welcome from her unfriendly classmates, Alex is shocked to discover a forest when she opens a door in search of the headmaster. She steps through, intrigued, and is transported into the strange world of Medora, a land of mystery and wonder. Desperate to return to her own world, Alex learns that the way home is via Professor Marselle, the only man able to help her, but he’s mysteriously vanished. While waiting for him to return, Alex agrees to attend Akarnae Academy, a boarding school for teenagers with supernatural gifts. She soon settles in, despite the irregularities of the school, and enjoys the new experience, even making some good friends along the way. But there is a dark cloud hanging over her happy new life. Alex meets a strange, dangerous man who’s ultimate goal is unknown, but it seems to involve our heroine, and will put the world in peril if it is achieved. Will Alex be able to save Medora? Will she ever see her parents again? Or will the world that she had come to love be destroyed, taking her with it?
Akarnae, the first book of a six-volume series, is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Any child aged 11+ should read this fascinating tale, which is a complicated maze of plot twists with glimpses of sincerity and humour. (I generally rank books from 8+ to 10+, but because this book has some moderately scary scenes, I believe it is suitable for slightly older children.) Lynette Noni is an artist, and she sculpts her words in a way that enchants the reader and enthrals them, encouraging them to continue reading. I truly could not put it down!