Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Set in Melbourne, Australia, Lim's novel is the elegantly written story of Avicenna Crowe, following the disappearance of her mother, Joanne. Avicenna is the last in a long line of Crowe women-all gifted astrologers with the ability to read people and see death. While Avicenna is resistant to use her gift, Joanne had dedicated her life to developing and reading her client's astrology charts. Willing to do anything to find her mother, the teen begins to use her gifts in astrology and her considerable intelligence to assist the police in their search and uncovers a link between her mother's disappearance and a decades-old murder. Teaming up with a former foe, Simon Thorn, to solve the mystery, the protagonist discovers that her mother had been living a secret life. Weaving the past and the present seamlessly, the book feels realistic, even as Lim straddles reality and superstition. A winning and relatable heroine, Avicenna's lack of confidence in her appearance, particularly her embarrassment over a facial scar caused by a childhood accident, often overwhelms and detracts from the narrative. Despite this, readers will root for the tragedy-prone Avicenna and her brooding ally, Simon. VERDICT A grim, often terrifying story, this mystery will keep readers guessing until the end.-Amanda Augsburger, Moline Public Library, IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Avicenna's mother, Joanne, is a gifted astrologer who has suddenly gone missing. As Avicenna tries to help the Australian police investigate the case, she uncovers secrets about her parents and her family's past. Avicenna, who shares her mother's talent for astrology, becomes enmeshed in unfinished client consultations that all converge on a 30-year-old unsolved case of a young girl's rape and murder. When she discovers a link between her mother's disappearance and the murder case, her own life becomes endangered. Asian-Australian Avicenna narrates her own story, which proves a complex and engrossing amalgam of suspense, relationships, and hope found and lost. Lim's (Mercy, 2011) narrative is seamless, and readers will eagerly and quickly sympathize with the characters, while the fascinating glimpse into the world of astrology and charting adds another layer of interest. This has great potential as an intergenerational reading club selection, and the story's ambiguous ending offers plenty of opportunities for discussion.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
A fiercely realized teen uses astrological skills to solve a heartbreaking mystery. Joanne Crowe, an astrologer so accurate and empathetic that clients became obsessed with her, knew her days were numbered. She'd always insisted on the truth of her impending "eventuality" to her daughter, Avicenna, but when Joanne goes missing, it's still a shock. As Avicenna embraces her own ability to read destinies in the stars and planets to unravel the mystery of her beloved mother's disappearance, her skills introduce her to both unlikely allies and revolting, violent foes across Melbourne's most luxurious and down-at-the-heels neighborhoods. Avicenna is a revelation: prickly and brilliantshe's the first student in years to ace the entrance exam at a highly competitive magnet high schoolshe pursues the truth doggedly even as the likelihood of her mother's death forces her to re-experience the physical and emotional trauma of the fire that took her father's life 10 years prior. Lim throws class differences into high relief and highlights the casual, cruel racism multiracial people still face in modern Australia. Her taut, assured thriller weaves together astrology and mythology, poetry and poverty, and several generations of mothers whose love can't protect their children from humanity's ugliest tendencies. Teen and adult readers who like their mysteries gritty and literary, with a touch of magic: seek this one out. (Mystery. 15 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.