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What Happened to Serenity? Paperback – April 29, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[T]he author does a good job of creating enough suspense to keep readers engaged. The writing is solid, the story is believable and the author has incorporated messages about intellectual and physical freedom, as well as environmental issues…it will appeal to reluctant and young teen readers."
Canadian Children's Booknews

"Collins weaves an intricate story that keeps readers intrigued and thinking about the meaning of truth and whether being sheltered from it is preferable to hard reality...Collins moves beyond the basic mystery and explores the intricate workings of the mind, the body, and the power of basic knowledge. Her story will keep readers engaged from beginning to end."
School Library Journal

"A most interesting story for younger readers, who enjoy a tale with a distinct difference. In an odd town a girl named Serenity vanishes. Katherine must find the truth as those in town try to keep their secrets intact. Both creepy and very compelling."
Shelf Life

"What Happened to Serenity? is a well written, well placed dystopian novel. Collins has created a strong heroine and has created a world that his both familiar and distant...This novel would be a good one for those interested in dystopian societies and for those who are interested in conspiracy theories and the government."

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"Katherine is a strong and interesting character. Her relationships with her family, teachers and friends are well conceived and realistic. The tension between Katherine and her mother is an especially authentic and touching portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship. . . An ideal addition to a middle school dystopian literature collection"

Recommended

-- CM Magazine

"Collins? writing grabs hold of the reader and never lets go. Her use of Katherine to question our own society is worthwhile reading for both teenagers and adults. She reminds us all that there are ideals worth fighting for. "

-- The Waterloo Record

About the Author

PJ Sarah Collins is a Grade 3 teacher living in British Columbia. She was born and bred in the Lower Mainland, is passionate about all things green, and loves family life with her husband and three young kids. She loves gardening, bicycling with her kids, playing soccer, co-leading her school choir, volunteering at a neighbourhood JUMP Math Club, and looking for ways to see green initiatives succeed in her community.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Red Deer Press; 1 edition (April 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0889954534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0889954533
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,483,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At fifteen, Katherine is too old to be asking questions. Her whole life she has been taught in school that asking questions is for children, something their minds don't realize is wrong and goes against the Manifesto that governs life in the Community. But Katherine can't help but be curious about the society she lives in: why is Father the only one who makes decisions? Why isn't anyone allowed to own color? Are they really the only Community left alive after the Ecological Revolution? Katherine's parents urge her to quell this curiosity; it only leads to trouble and could wind up negatively influencing the Life Role she is soon to be assigned. When Katherine's best friend Anna's little sister, Serenity, goes missing, however, Katherine is more determined than ever to ask the questions necessary to learn what happened to the six-year-old, and why Father and the rest of the Community don't seem to be troubled by her disappearance.

Part poetry collection, part dystopian thriller, this short but enjoyable novel from debut author PJ Sarah Collins manages to accomplish in just a little more than 200 pages what many young adult novels fail to in 400+: identifiable, well-developed characters, an interesting storyline, and a twist that will keep the reader thinking long after the closing pages. The novel centers around fifteen-year-old Katherine, a curious and intelligent girl who sees that there is something more to her life in the Community than blindly following Father and the Manifesto. Katherine is a writer, and uses a forbidden journal to create poetry about her life, the verses of which separate each chapter in the novel.
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Format: Paperback
This is a good read for the early teen set. It certainly makes you think about the future and contemplate what determines an ideal life? Katherine's life seems almost ideal but some things aren't right. Why is she discouraged from asking questions or thinking for herself? What do her parents know or don't know? And of course, what happened to her friends little sister, Serenity? Katherine's questions are answered by the end of the book but at what cost to Katherine and her community? The author has painted a vivid picture of a Utopian life as well as shown the stark contrast to modern life in a large city. She has also captured well the confusing emotions of a fifteen year old. For young teens that enjoy thought provoking reading, as well as some excitement, this will appeal. What Happened to Serenity
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By Nicole Luiken on October 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Excellent dystopia with a society focused on Community at the expense of Individualism. Impossible not to empathize with the young heroine, Katherine, who is punished for the mere act of asking questions, and the villain is similarly well-drawn.
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