'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Review: Slave Girl

I am thrilled to have had the chance to read Slave Girl. It is a historical time-travel fantasy (one of my favourite genres) written for tween girls without the romance involved with a young adult or adult book.

In Slave Girl we meet 13-year-old Jenna Bookallil-Brown - from Erskineville, Sydney, Australia - who is an exchange student in New York. She is introduced as an angry fashionista who later develops into a loyal and appreciative teenager.

Jenna knows how to be trendy on a budget. She lives in a single parent household with her mother. Jenna’s character is headstrong and sharp-witted which will be an advantage for her to overcome all the obstacles that she will confront in this story, including a rampaging hippopotamus.

Jenna’s trip to New York was expected to be a special adventure that would involve vintage shopping, celebrities and cafes. She is tech savvy, using eBay to purchase clothing, and using online subway maps and her touchscreen mobile phone.

While Jenna visits the Metropolitan Museum with her class, she encounters an one-eyed, orange-brown street cat in the Ancient Egyptian gallery. The cat steals Jenna’s envelope containing money from her designer clothes wearing great-aunt Mimi, who lives in Manhattan. Jenna is compelled to follow this strange looking cat to retrieve her money.

The street cat leads Jenna into an Ancient Egyptian aristocratic party. This is where Jenna’s real adventures begin. At the party, she accidentally hits an edgy guy with her mobile phone and is arrested by the heiress’s guards for trespassing. Little does Jenna realise that she is now in Ancient Egypt and that the edgy cute guy could be central to her fate while living in his time.

During the story, Jenna plunges into moments of helplessness but then realises that she must use her strength of character; courage, brains and planning to work out how she can escape imprisonment, find the elusive cat and get home from the period of King Hatshepsut’s rein.

Slave Girl explores themes of social structure, slavery, arranged marriage, time-travel, magic, loyalty, friendship and family.

Alexa Moses uses richly-detailed language to develop the setting of Ancient Egypt but this detail does not make the story dense. In fact, as the story develops towards the climax of Jenna’s escape, the story escalates to a riveting pace.

I look forward to seeing what other crazy situations Jenna finds herself in future books.

- this review by Leanne Barrett

Title: Slave Girl
Author: Alexa Moses
Publisher: Angus & Robertson $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780732294984
For ages: 10-14 years
Type: Junior Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction