Meridian by Amber Kizer

cover image

Random House, 2010. ISBN 978 1864718782.
(Age 14+) Recommended. As her mother pulls her out of the car's way, Meridian watches in horror as it ploughs into the others who have just got down from the bus. She feels their dying pain in a way she has never felt before. She is pulled away and thrown into the packed car, her mother sending her off with her father and the promise that she will see her again, if not in this world then the next. Dropped at the bus station, she opens the hidden letter, explaining some of what is going on. Like her mother, she is a Fenestra, an angel, a secret they have kept from her, and so she must get to her Aunt's house as quickly as possible, trusting no one, keeping herself safe because turning 16 means that she is now a window for a soul to escape the body as it dies and goes to heaven.
Meridian is overwhelmed. Everyday at her Aunt's house she learns something new about herself and her role. Living there is Tens, a gruff, uncommunicative young man, but gradually Meridian gets used to him and his ways as she learns he is there to protect her. Overlaid with her developing powers and experiences, Meridian learns about the new gospel church which has infiltrated the town, turning away all those who do not conform. These people target Auntie and then Tens and Meridian in their quest for power over the whole community. People, who once went to Aunty for help, now turn away in the street and their house and car, along with the dog, become targeted by forces unknown.
A scary, supernatural/fantasy story, Meridian has all the elements of a good read wrapped up in one. The angel story develops enticingly, involving some of the centuries old beliefs about angels and adding another layer of fantasy; the love story is inviting, leading the reader along the path of whether they will become a couple or not; the story of the dying Auntie holds the reader to attention as the story of her husband is teased out. Added to that is the story of the cult which has taken over the town and may or may not be the opponents of the Fenestra, ready to kill Meridian whose powers are developing all the time. An engrossing read for secondary students.
Fran Knight