Akarnae by Lynette Noni

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Pantera Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781921997501
Recommended. Much to her dismay, Alexandra Jennings is being shipped off to boarding school while her archaeologist parents make their next big discovery. But Alex is taken by surprise when she walks into the principal's office on her first day and instead finds herself in Medora, a futuristic other world, where she must remain until the missing Professor Marselle can send her home. Surrounded by advanced technology and students with special gifts, Alex embraces the wonder that the Akarnae Academy has to offer, and forms some unlikely friendships along the way. Alex may be from another world but she is far from normal, and little does she know that the fate of Medora and those she has grown to care for, may very well rest in her hands.
Noni's debut novel is a fantasy whirlwind filled with loveable and charismatic characters. Her writing is simplistic yet beautiful, and she constructs the world of Medora so eloquently that the reader is pulled in from the first page, experiencing all that Akarnae has to offer. Although this is primarily a fantasy novel, readers of dystopian and science fiction are sure to take pleasure in the fast-paced action and futuristic technology that Noni describes. Akarnae is the first in a series and the cliff-hanger ending will leave readers needing to know what happens next. This story of adventure, friendship, wonder, and sacrifice is sure to entice middle school students and all readers with a wandering imagination.
Emma Gay