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The Maze by Monica Hughes

The Maze

by Monica Hughes

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I think this is more of a middle grade book than a young adult. The situations were pretty predictable and the characters simple but it had some good moments and carried a great message. I found the dialogue stilted and unrealistic for kids their age. ( )
  Bonnie_Ferrante | Apr 14, 2014 |
Cover blurb: What is the amazing power of the maze inlaid in a mysterious shiny black box? Andrea Austin doesn't know what to expect when she is given the box; all she knows is that she doesn't want to be the victim of Crystal, leader of the frightening gang of Six, anymore.
Abbotsville High isn't much fun for Andrea. As if being a target of the only girl gang in school isn't enough, Andrea's father won't even let her change her clothes, her hair, or anything so that she can fit in. So when Andrea is given the mysterious maze, with the instructions to find the middle so she can find herself, she is curious.
Then, right in the midst of an attack on Andrea, Crystal and her number one gal pal, Sabrina, grab the box and disappear in a blinding flash. It's up to Andrea to go after them and bring them back. But the maze-like world into which they have disappeared is now deadly dangerous, generated by emotions, especially Crystal's sinister anger. And Crystal's anger is threatening to destroy not only herself, but also Andrea, the only person who can save her.

Monica Hughes is a longstanding and well-known Canadian author for YA and children. For some reason I haven't read much by her, perhaps because of the faint whiff of 'improving literature'.
The most effective parts of the book are the mundane parts. Andrea's father is well-rendered and detestable, even as Andrea begins to see his weakness and her own strength, learning how to circumvent him. The bullying Six are convincing too, with the attack in the park having the scrambled, humiliating feel of the real thing.
The magic part was weaker. I didn't mind Andrea running into the little shop to escape the bullies, and meeting the mysterious shopkeeper who gives her the Talisman and gnomic advice. That's a standard mythic opening. But Andrea and Crystal's travels through the maze felt more cobbled-together, and while they were often described as being in danger, I never felt convinced that they were. I know the rapid shifts of setting and event were because the maze was supposed to be feeding from their memories (including movies and books) and their emotions, but the result for me was that I didn't feel the maze-world had its own reality or rules. Which was, of course, the point. They have to learn themselves to learn the world and find their way through. It's just not a point that speaks to me as a reader.
  bmlg | Mar 20, 2011 |
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