Monday, February 20, 2017

Horizon by Scott Westerfeld

Monday means Middle Grade! and today I'm reviewing Horizon by Scott Westerfeld. I picked this book up through my kid's Scholastic book club flyer, drawn to it just because of the author, Westerfeld. I've read several of his YA books and wanted to see where he'd go with middle grade.

The Story-
Our story begins with four youth on a trip to Japan to compete in a robotics tournament. Halfway through their flight, while above the Arctic, a strange force seizes the plane and rips the roof off. As blue lightning zips around, people are sucked out into nowhere and the plane then crashes into a jungle.

Only eight people survive the crash, the rest of the 400 people have mysteriously disappeared. Besides our four robotics students are two Japanese sisters, a half Japanese/half American boy with a samurai sword, and the oldest kid, Caleb.

As the kids struggle to survive, they encounter bizarre plants, animals and red vegetation. Most believe they are on a spaceship or another planet, somehow transported mid flight, but Caleb believes they are still on Earth. The one solid clue they have is a strange cylinder with codes that makes gravity change. Could it be alien technology?

My Thoughts-
A fast paced middle-grade read that will have readers ripping through the pages to figure out what the heck is going on. At first I thought it was just a typical crash survival story, but that notion soon changed when the kids discovered two moons, one red and one green, hanging in the sky. Now that got my attention.

Soon the kids are using the gravity device to hop/fly about the place and discover killer plants and scavenger birds. Their task to survive grows harder and one of them doesn't make it. Yikes! By this point I was fully vested in the story and really wanted to unravel the mystery. But, this is a series. Something I didn't realize when I picked up the book. So, the ending came and I was ready to keep going. Now I have to wait for the next book.

In regards to our characters, each is well developed and full of specific personality. I enjoyed watching as the robotic students took to everything with thought and planning, while the other kids just went big and bold. There is a great dynamic amongst them, and I enjoyed that they all fit somewhat well together and there wasn't an evil tyrant (Lord of the Flies esque).

Looks like this is going to be an action packed series for Scholastic and will eventually filter into Internet connections and reader involvement. 5 stars!


  1. Sounds fantastic. I'll be adding this one to my future read list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I had this in my hand, til I realized I'd left my wallet at home. Dying to get a copy! Anyway, thanks for the review. And as if it wasn't already hard enough to wait for the second book...I'm pretty sure Jennifer Nielsen has written book 2!

  3. I think this will be popular in my library but fear it will come in that horrible paper over board format. My 39 Clues books are all little piles of paper-- I wish books had better bindings!

  4. Action-packed AND written by Scott Westerfeld--ought to be great!