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Alyzon Whitestarr

Alyzon Whitestarr

4.3 22
by Isobelle Carmody

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Crushes, concerts, and conspiracies collide in this paranormal romance for teens!Contemporary YA fiction gets a "super" twist when award-winning author Isobelle Carmody applies her talent for adventure and suspense to a contemporary suburban setting and an offbeat, lovable cast of characters. The result is a young-adult novel with appeal for fans of everything from


Crushes, concerts, and conspiracies collide in this paranormal romance for teens!Contemporary YA fiction gets a "super" twist when award-winning author Isobelle Carmody applies her talent for adventure and suspense to a contemporary suburban setting and an offbeat, lovable cast of characters. The result is a young-adult novel with appeal for fans of everything from Twilight and Lost to Tamora Pierce and Ann Brashares.
Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she's easily the most normal member of a very eccentric family . . . until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed.
Suddenly Alyzon's senses and perceptions are enhanced to the nth degree. Colors are more vibrant, her memory is flawless, and even her sister's cooking tastes exquisite.
But strangest of all is Alyzon's sense of smell. Through it, she can discern a person's essential nature and perceive the moods and intentions of others. Her new best friend smells of a comforting sea breeze. She registers her father's contentment as the sweet scent of caramelized sugar, and his anxiety over bills is acrid as ammonia. So why does the cutest guy in school smell so rancid? And what reason could he possibly have to ask her on a date?
With Alyzon's extrasensory perception comes intrigue, danger, and romance. Will being different prove to be a blessing or a curse?
First published in Australia in 2006, Alyzon Whitestarr won two Aurealis Awards for outstanding sci-fi and YA writing.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Natalie Solski
Spiced with a fresh premise, Alyzon Whitestarr captures readers' interest and introduces them to an easily believable world. Although the story's direction is occasionally unclear, many readers will feel that Alyzon's narration makes up for this flaw. Her voice makes her a particularly well-fleshed-out character, and her insights bring the cast to life. Readers will also relate well to the situations in the novel, though some may find the plot too drawn out. Reviewer: Natalie Solski, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Rebecca Moore
Middle child of an artistic and musical family, high school junior Alyzon is singularly untalented and painfully aware of it. Then a head injury awakens an extreme version of synesthesia that manifests particularly in the ability to smell personalities and moods. When Alyzon discovers that the school's most popular boy—who has taken a predatory interest in her—smells of rotting putrescence, it sets off mental alarm bells. Also alarming are the oddly scentless man trying to influence her idealistic father's musical career and the licorice-scented hatred oozing from her younger sister. What is the connection among these three? What is the infection rotting through them, and what will it make them do? Most important, can Alyzon and her new friends stop it? This complex and lyrically written book explores some fascinating and difficult questions, particularly how idealism can lead to extremism and terrorism. What is the proper response to the world's desperation? To rage, fight, kill, and die until someone takes notice and action? Or to fill your small part of the world with love? Unfortunately the argument loses some of its punch in adding a supernatural element twisting people's souls, and loses more in the fact that the book is about 200 pages longer than necessary. The leisurely pace combined with the endless (although lovely) descriptions will lose many readers, despite the intriguing story line and characters. Buy for patient readers who value descriptions and character over action, and enjoy a thought-provoking read. Reviewer: Rebecca Moore
Children's Literature - Cara Chancellor
In a family of artists and musicians, Alyzon stands out as the only Whitestarr without "Starr" quality; that is, until an accident puts her into a month-long coma and she wakes up� different. The doctors assure her that the strange new smells threatening to overpower her will disappear as she recovers, but instead they get stronger. They also start to make sense. When her father is happy, for example, she smells caramelized sugar. When he is worried, she smells ammonia. Others at school smell refreshingly pure, hotly angry, or—in the case of beautiful, irresistible Harlen Sanderson—like rotting flesh. Alyzon's extended senses also show light motes radiating from her father in bursts of happiness; while Aaron Rayc, an agent suddenly very interested in Mr. Whitestarr, sucks them in greedily. Both Harlen and Aaron exude the same feeling of wrongness to Alyzon; and both are somehow connected to the dark, depressive transformation her sister, Serenity, recently has undergone. As Alyzon rushes to put together the pieces, she discovers that her new senses also may be making her vulnerable—and that she and Serenity are not the only ones in danger. Carmody's novel explores diseases of the spirit in a fresh, fascinating way. The smells associated with different characters and emotions—like lavender, chocolate, and wood smoke for sexuality; sharp citrus for curiosity—are both completely unpredictable and yet somehow immediately correct. Sophisticated readers also will appreciate that Carmody does not take the easy road: even main characters are susceptible to downfall, and not all ills are curable. For those who enjoy tales of spirit, possession, or even just of smart,sarcastic teenage heroines, Alyzon Whitestarr is likely to be an instant favorite. Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Alyzon feels like a chicken among peacocks as the only "normal" member of her sprawling, eccentric family. When she awakens from a monthlong coma after an accident, she finds that her heightened sense of smell may make her the oddest Whitestarr of all. Able to sense the wishes, feelings, and character of others by the smells they give off, Alyzon slowly begins to understand her gift, to recognize that her friends and family aren't always who they seem, and to realize that she may be the only one who can prevent an impending tragedy involving her father and her moody younger sister. The Australian setting and vocabulary add spice to Carmody's prose. Her gorgeous, evocative descriptions of the smells Alyzon experiences, which include lavender, caramelized sugar, hot strawberries, and chocolate, are delightful. The novel is too long for reluctant readers, and probably longer than it needs to be, but fans of fantasy, paranormal, and romance tales will find Alyzon and her friends appealing enough to stay with it to the end. Carmody leaves the door open for a sequel.—Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Exceptional for her practicality and plain looks in a family of flamboyant dreamers and artists, Alyzon is at first overwhelmed and alarmed but then entranced by the power of her newly heightened senses, brought on by a concussion. Most remarkable is Alyzon's sensitivity to smell: People smell not of perfume, sweat or fabric softener, but of something more essential. Caramelized sugar and coffee grounds waft from her loving father, while alpha-cute boy Harlen, who should smell scrumptious, reeks of rotting filth. Could someone's essential smells indicate the state of his soul? With support from her ocean breeze-scented friend Gilly's talented Scooby Gang of pals, Alyzon struggles to solve the increasingly complex mystery of metaphysical aromas, which threatens not only her family but the entire world. The premise is interesting, but the pace ponderous, as Alyzon inches ever so slowly toward understanding and using her power to protect her loved ones. Carmody's detailed exposition, bold theorizing and somewhat saggy plotting will leave readers who persevere disappointed to learn that Alyzon's adventures end with this stand-alone. (Paranormal mystery. 12 & up)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.70(d)
940L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Isobelle Carmody began the first novel of her highly acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles while she was still in high school. The series has established her at the forefront of fantasy writing in Australia.

In addition to her young-adult novels, such as the Obernewtyn Chronicles and Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle's published works include several middle-grade fantasies. Her still-unfinished Gateway Trilogy has been favorably compared to The Wizard of Oz and the Chronicles of Narnia. The Little Fur quartet is an eco-fantasy starring a half-elf, half-troll heroine and is fully illustrated by the author herself.

Isobelle's most recent picture book, Magic Night, is a collaboration with illustrator Declan Lee. Originally published in Australia as The Wrong Thing, the book features an ordinary housecat who stumbles upon something otherworldly. Across all her writing, Isobelle shows a talent for balancing the mundane and the fantastic.

Isobelle was the guest of honor at the 2007 Australian National Science Fiction Convention. She has received numerous honors for her writing, including multiple Aurealis Awards and Children's Book Council of Australia Awards.

She currently divides her time between her home on the Great Ocean Road in Australia and her travels abroad with her partner and daughter.

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Alyzon Whitestarr 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.
CillianRune More than 1 year ago
This book is a clear example of how you should never judge a book by it's cover, if you judge Alyzon Whitestarr by its cover you'll be making a huge mistake. Meaning, the cover is horrendous, the book is excellent. Let me start by saying that the plot is absolutely original and clever, the way she describes people's smells (they symbolize their true essence)is extraordinary, Alyzon's is fully developed as a character, she's strong willed and very sensitive, she never hovers in fear and is very honest about her feelings. The whole book is about free will, who can overcome the "illness" and who gets swept by it, it has a few creepy parts (the ones that include Harlen) and it's incredibly fast paced, offering a great collection of enrooted characters. Now I'll get to the part that I didn't like: Carmody created a fabulous villain, Harlen Sanders, and she doesn't utilize him in a way that would do him justice. She could have done so much more with Harlen, and instead the guy has only 10 lines (maybe) and the date with Alyzon (something I was really looking foward to read) never took place... Disappointing! Can you imagine what a great scene would be with Alyzon avoiding being touched by Harlen? I really would have liked to see more of him, he was (technically) one of the main characters, and we hardly got to enjoy him. I was also bothered by the lack of respect the author showed towards Harlen, in the end [SPOLER!] she gives us a brief tour through Harlen's story, which explains why he was the way he was, and then she just has him running away! Such disrespect! I was hoping she would write a sequel and redeem poor Harlen, but Alyzon Whitestarr is almost 3 years old, so a sequel is not likely to grace my bookcase shelve.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Alyzon isn't like the other people in her family. She wasn't born with a special gift, and she thought that she would always be the ordinary one in a family of super-talented people. When she experiences an accident that gives her powers of her own, Alyzon realizes there is more going on than what she initially figured. Her new power enhances her senses so that colors are more vibrant, her memory is the best it's ever been, and her sense of smell is better than all of her other senses. Excitement and intrigue follow Alyzon as she tries to figure out exactly what her powers can be used for. Will these changes help or harm her family? ALYZON WHITESTARR by Isobelle Carmody is one of those books that you will want to reread over and over again, with wonderfully written characters who make you feel like they are part of your own family. Ms. Carmody shows her readers what it's like to be the oddball in the family, but makes it enjoyable every step of the way. Definitely a 5-star read.
cara lee More than 1 year ago
loved this book. i wish there could be a sequel or a series totally recomend it to anyone who loves fantasy
gochoke More than 1 year ago
Really awesome book. Can't tell you anything else you just have to read.
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For me, this book was well written, but very slow. Alyzon is an interesting character who loves her family and friends. You don't really understand all of the characters until all of the pieces of the puzzle are put together. It's kind of like a mystery novel in the sense that everything unfolds itself in the end. It takes the reader a while to completely understand what is going on, and the intensity of the book doesn't kick in until the last 200 or so pages (out of about 500). Overall, the book was entertaining and gives new insight to the world.
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