I first encountered this book on Authonomy, the Harper Collins new authors website. In spite of the fact that I reviewed about a hundred books there, the opening scene still stuck in my mind. Sure, it involves a close encounter with a huge salt-water crocodile, but it was the realist impact of the writing and the imagery that hooked me. So I was pleased to be asked to review the published manuscript.
I think it is common among children to fantasize about what would happen if they woke up one morning and discovered that they weren't what everyone thought, that they were beings from another planet, with powers to match. This book is a realistic and enjoyable take on what that might be like. Not necessarily enjoyable for the main character.
The strength in this writing is in the description, especially of scenes and their emotional impact on the characters, and thus on the reader. This internal contact gives us great empathy with the main character without ducking the flaws in her personality that help drive the plot. Nell seems a very realistic teenager, with mood swings, uncertainties and emotional spates enough to make the reader, and even Nell herself, question whether she might be going crazy. She is still very likeable, and we follow her quest avidly.