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Blue Voyage Hardcover – October 13, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Zan begins to act out in negative ways after her dad becomes a rising political star. The adventurous, risk-taking teen is suddenly whisked off to Turkey for a mother-daughter trip, where they stay with Zan's aunt, a recent widow who believes her husband was murdered. What seemed like a boring family vacation turns into a thrilling mystery as Zan races to uncover the cause of her uncle's death and gets swept up into an antiquities smuggling ring. In order to save her family from the nefarious intentions of the smugglers, Zen must rescue an ancient (and cursed) treasure. Renn expertly builds tension, sweeping readers away to exotic locales. Witty and engaging, this book hearkens back to works by Agatha Christie. VERDICT A great addition to any library that has a teen fan base for thrilling mysteries.—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom Public Library, MI
Praise for Blue Voyage:
"Renn expertly builds tension, sweeping readers away to exotic locales. Witty and engaging, this book hearkens back to works by Agatha Christie."—School Library Journal
"[Zan] learns to be her authentic self in her fight to survive, a believable character arc that suits the plot nicely. A solid choice for readers hungry for an absorbing mystery."—Kirkus Reviews
"Zan has great character appeal, and teenage girls will eagerly follow her through subsequent adventures. . . . It will be a popular addition to the mystery collection."—VOYA
"Blue Voyage is a tense international adventure, a potent suspense cocktail that will leave you giddy. Diana Renn does it again!"—Lamar Giles, Edgar nominated author of Fake ID and Endangered
"For armchair detectives with wanderlust."—Booklist
A 2016 Massachusetts "Must Read" Book
Praise for Latitude Zero:
“Twisty, inventive, and fast-paced suspense.”—Nancy Werlin, author of the Edgar Award winner The Killer’s Cousin
“Diana Renn spins a deadly web of danger, intrigue, and romance in this international cycling investigative thriller. Latitude Zero will lead you on a wild ride!”—Julie Berry, author of the Edgar Award nominee All the Truth That’s in Me
"The book’s premise is clever, and the Ecuadorian setting is unusual and nicely realized. Cycling and mystery fans will doubtless enjoy the ride."—Booklist
"A great deal of exciting action and tension that keep readers turning the pages."—Kirkus Reviews
"Fills a niche for people seeking mystery stories with strong female protagonists."—VOYA
Top customer reviews
Zan takes a little getting used you until you understand what she's grappling with. A mercurial teenager, trying to fit in with her peers, her family life is in the spotlight, even more so when her politician father's infidelity is discovered. She deals with vitiligo, trying to accept her condition, great on Renn's part for bringing awareness to this autoimmune disease. Zan's a smart girl, lonely, trust issues along with sticky fingers, she finds solace in rock climbing, when you become more familiar with this prickly young lady she actually grows on you.
The mystery aspect was intriguing, especially with artifacts, forgeries, mafia, corruption and authentic treasure pieces at stake all actual instances plaguing Turkey, which makes this read even more riveting. Artifacts smuggling is a serious issue as Turkey is all too familiar. Renn merely scratches at the surface of this ongoing challenge. Plenty of noteworthy characters keeping you on your toes as you seek the truth along with Zan and her family and friends.
BLUE VOYAGE starts when Zan --- the daughter of an American politician who has lots of family drama --- goes on a cruise to Turkey with her mom to meet up with her aunt, whose husband just died. We follow Zan, her aunt, a new friend, and many others over a short period of time with lots of developments along the way, including artifact smuggling and a little romance.
I think Renn did a fantastic job incorporating Turkish culture into the story, and it kept me reading. The entire premise is unique to the YA genre. I feel like the story may have dragged a little because overall, not that much happened. The story sped up at the end, but I wish that action had been spread out over the course of the book. The plot had lots of potential, but some of the plot twists were predictable.
I would pick up this book again, though, because the culture and descriptive writing were enough for me to enjoy it. I also loved the characters in the story --- they were real and imperfect. Renn’s intention of exploring Turkey and other cultures as well as family relationships definitely came through in BLUE VOYAGE.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves an easy-to-follow mystery. If you are interested in Turkish or international travels, this would be the perfect read for you, as long as you are patient enough to wait for it to get interesting.
Reviewed by Grace P.
After hearing Diana Renn talk about Blue Voyage at this year's Boston Teen Author Festival, I was excited by the idea of a "YA travel mystery involving stolen treasure." Now I'm glad I gave this book a chance!
Set in modern-day Turkey, Blue Voyage follows 16-year-old Alexandra (a.k.a. Zan) as she reluctantly joins her mother for a cruise along the Turkish Riviera and to visit her recently widowed aunt. It's meant to a bonding experience, and a chance for Zan (a politician's daughter) to escape the hometown spotlight after being caught shoplifting. However, she's soon drawn to the mystery behind her uncle's suspicious death and begins investigating it on her own. Could a treasure-smuggling operation be behind it all? More importantly, who can Zan trust in a foreign country where everyone - even apparent tourists - might be working for the smugglers?
Thrilling and adventurous, Blue Voyage excels at steeping readers in the beauties and dangers of the Middle East. Renn takes us to the pristine Mediterranean coasts, the bustling capital of Istanbul, and the ancient ruins of Cappadocia, all while bringing in bits of Turkish culture and Islam and addressing the region's issues with archaeology smuggling. There are also plenty of adult characters in this YA story, and an emphasis on dysfunctional families learning to heal. My feelings about Zan went back and forth, though. Her hobbies (rock climbing), detective skills, and compelling backstory (especially her insecurity due to vitiligo) made her a unique protagonist, but her attitude irritated me at times. Some of the older characters came across as immature as well. Otherwise, Blue Voyage was a refreshing change of pace for this fantasy reader, and a thoroughly researched caper that kept me guessing until the end.