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3.9 35
by Faye Kellerman, Aliza Kellerman

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Prism takes us to a slightly alternate universe in which medicine and health care do not exist, and in which sick people are allowed to die without any care. Set in New Mexico and California, the novel features three teens who fall through a cave at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico while on a field trip. They are plunged into a frightening parallel universe—seven


Prism takes us to a slightly alternate universe in which medicine and health care do not exist, and in which sick people are allowed to die without any care. Set in New Mexico and California, the novel features three teens who fall through a cave at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico while on a field trip. They are plunged into a frightening parallel universe—seven weeks in the past, in which their "normal" worlds of family and high school remain the same…except for the fact that no medicine exists and when people die in the street they are picked up and disposed of.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This first collaboration between bestselling mystery author Faye Kellerman and her teenage daughter Aliza has an enticing premise but falls short. After a van accident in the desert during a school trip, high schooler Kaida Hutchenson and two classmates seek shelter in a cave and have the mysterious sensation of falling as they seek an exit. Kaida then wakes up in her own bedroom, thinking the past events are a dream. Everything seems normal (she awakens to Metallica on the radio) until she witnesses a white-robed “cleanup crew” take away an injured man who's been hit by a car. With some investigation and help from a cute boy, Kaida discovers that she is in an alternate dimension where medicine and health care are illegal, and where those who go against the natural order of the world are dealt with in a Big Brother–like manner. Though the slow-building mystery is handled deftly, the execution of the mirror world feels simplistic, with the authors basically sidestepping the broader ramifications that a lack of medicine would have had on human society over time. Ages 12–up. (July)
Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
Mystery surrounds this novel starting with a class trip for fourteen-year old students. Kaida, the protagonist, and her best friend, Maria, are going on the same field trip but in different vans. Zeke and Joy are the two students riding in the same van as Kaida , driven by Mr. Addison, the teacher. Not long after they start on the trip, they have an accident. Rain comes like a flash flood, and the three students look for shelter. They run to a small cave for protection. They do not see Mr. Addison, and suddenly their van is in flames. After several experiences in the cave, they fall in a hole and cannot get out. Suddenly they see a bright light and find themselves back home as if they had never been away. Later, Kaida, Zeke, and Joy learn they have had the same dream and realize something mysterious is happening. Kaida meets a new boy at school who helps them understand they are functioning in two worlds. As the story unfolds with sharp turns and scary happenings, they are glad Ozzy, the new student, is on their side and will help them. Kaida is surprised to learn citizens receive different medical care depending on which world they are in. This interesting, paranormal thriller was written by a mother and her high school daughter. More exciting novels can be expected from this talented family of best selling authors. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
VOYA - Ava Donaldson
In Prism, Faye and Aliza Kellerman describe a very original and interesting idea. With the attention-grabbing plot, a captivating story is created. Unfortunately, although the concept may be intriguing, the character development and dialogue leave something to be desired. Nonetheless the characters are somewhat endearing and the plot itself is compelling. Overall a worthwhile read for its plot value, but lacking in literary merit. Reviewer: Ava Donaldson, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Cindy Faughnan
Kaida Hutchensen's sophomore class trip to the Carlsbad Caverns throws Kaida and two other students' lives into disarray. What at first is an awkward car arrangement with Zeke and Joy, two students with whom Kaida had little contact, becomes a matter of group survival after a horrendous car crash. Attempting to escape first the fiery car wreck and then the torrential downpour, the three seek shelter in a cave. They slip into a hole and follow other passages as they search for a way out until they find themselves far from the reality they had known. Although the world and the people in it look like their own, the differences are chilling. Kaida meets people who want to help her and others who want to lock her away. Through the help of a "hot" fellow student, she discovers a way to return to her own world. This thriller has paranormal strands to it as the reader discovers along with Kaida that she is in a parallel world that has developed without medical advances. The situation's suspense sometimes covers clunky description or dialogue. Faye Kellerman is a master of adult mystery, and the action and plot twists will keep readers wanting to know more. Aliza Kellerman's youth shows with her reliance on adverbs or awkward similes, but she will be an author to watch as she matures. The action is taut and gripping, and the paranormal twist is original. Reviewer: Cindy Faughnan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In this paranormal thriller (HarperCollins, 2009) by Faye and Aliza Kellerman, Kaida Hutchenson, 15, is not excited to be on a school trip to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico with swimmer Zeke Anderson and smoker Joy Tallon. When their van crashes in the desert and catches fire, the teens barely have time to escape before it explodes. They take refuge in a cave to stay out of the rain, and are mysteriously transported to a parallel world. They wake up in their own beds in California like it was all a dream, except one thing is different—Kaida and Zeke watch a man get hit by a car and instead of an ambulance a cleanup crew takes away the body. The teens figure out that they now live in a world where there is no such thing as health care or medicine. Darwin's natural selection has been taken to extreme. The fittest survive and those who try to fight the "natural order" are thrown in jail. Jenna Lamia brings to life Kaida, the scared yet sassy purple-haired teen. Much of the story's suspense comes from her performance. Thoughtful listeners will find many gaps in the prism-like other world and the implications of no medicine.—Samantha Larsen Hastings, West Jordan Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
Kaida is a normal high-school girl going on a normal class trip-until a terrible van accident strands her in a nightmare with two of her fellow travelers. After a harrowing night lost in a desert cave, Kaida wakes at home in her own bed, her class trip a week in the future. She hasn't moved into the past, though. Instead, Kaida is in a world almost like her own but horribly different, and only her fellow accident victims seem to recognize anything is wrong. Nobody has ever heard of doctors or hospitals, and speaking of illness brings horrified looks from any who hear. Somehow, the accident has brought Kaida into an alternate universe where a fascist government enforces taboos against both medicine and sickness. Though the novel, by the gajillion-selling thriller author and her high-school junior daughter, might need a shot of penicillin to cure its massive plot holes, fast-paced action will keep thriller fans reading. Who needs character development or logical world-building when you've got high-speed chases and laxative smuggling? (Fantasy. 11-13)
Lauren Wiygul
Kaida Hutchenson, an independent 15-year-old with purple hair, is dreading her class trip to the Carlsbad Caverns because her best friend, Maria, will not be on the trip, and she will have to put up with the company of both Zeke Anderson and Joy Tallon. However, the two end up being the least of Kaida's worries when suddenly the van carrying all of the students crashes in the middle of a desert, turning their trip into a nightmare. The three students band together and seek shelter in a nearby cave where something magical and mysterious happens: the three are transported back to their homes in California at the present time where everything and everyone look the same, but eventually they realize they are in a different dimension. Kaida, Zeke, and Joy must find a way back or they must find a way to endure this new future. Reviewer: Lauren Wiygul

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
11 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt


Chapter Three

"He didn't get out?" Zeke was in a panic. "What do you mean he didn't get out!" He kicked the ground with the type of anger found only in boys and men.

"You don't know that," I told Joy. "Don't say that!"

"The car was completely mangled..."

"We got out!"

"Exactly," Joy said. "We got out. So where is he?"

"He's around here somewhere!" My tears were falling fast and furious. Think,

Hutchinson, think! "Let's back it up. Everyone just shut up a moment and let's try to think!"

No one spoke, which made things even creepier. The only thing that was now making noise was the fire...loud popping noises that expelled glowing embers upward like an erupting volcano. To drown it out, I started talking. "What happened exactly? I mean I know we crashed, but. .. how?"

"I'm pretty sure we hit something." Joy's voice wasn't much louder than a whisper.

"What about Mr. Addison?" I continued. "Should we go back to the car and check? Maybe he got flung out and needs us and. . ."

"Did you see him?" Zeke questioned.

"No," I responded.

Joy gulped. "I might've. I mean I think he was still in the car. .. or maybe between the car and a rock or maybe. .. Everything was getting hot and smoky."

"Oh, God." I felt revolted. I felt sick.

"I...I really can't be sure.. . ."

I twisted my shoe into the dusty ground. The desert was vast and completely alien. It was dark but not black because of the fire and the overcast night, the cloud- covered full moon providing some visibility. I couldn't make out any bugs or beasts, but we all knew that terrible things wereout there. I felt an electric breeze run over my face, blowing my hair in all directions. Up above, the winds were pushing the clouds across the sky.

"Okay." I drew a line in the dust of the New Mexican desert. "Let's think."

They continued to breathe heavily and say nothing.

"Okay." I rubbed my hands together and then clapped them, trying to signify something official. "Where's everyone else from our school?"

"Driving miles ahead of us." Zeke groaned.

"Or miles behind us," I proposed. "Our car could have moved quicker than the big vans they were using. So maybe all we have to do is wait until they catch up."

"Does anyone have a phone?" Joy inquired.

"Mr. Addison made us pack them in the trunk of the van so we wouldn't be on the phone, blah, blah, blah." Zeke sat down and banged his head against the fold of his arms. He was right. All of our luggage and provisions had been incinerated. I had my messenger bag and Zeke had his backpack. Joy had escaped empty-handed. Everything else was gone.

"Check your bag, Kaida," Zeke prodded. "Just in case."

I groped around, but my phone wasn't there. "It's freaking black." Actually more like a subdued navy. I heard rustling and saw the faint outline of Zeke's hands searching through his own backpack. A click sounded and a bright beam shone.

"Wow..." I shielded my eyes.

"Aha!" he shouted comically. "It works!" The light focused on me, then my bag. "Now look for your phone!"

I opened my beautiful, worn bag and sifted through my remaining possessions lovingly. I discovered I had a flashlight, too...thanks, Mom!...and quickly extracted it. I turned it on. "Let's all go through our stuff. You know, to see how much food we have, et cetera."

"Good idea," Zeke agreed.

We sat down on the cold, dusty ground and rifled through our bags. For the next two minutes, the silence of the desert was broken as we tore through items, hoped, waited, listened for some car motor or anything that signified salvation.

"No," I stated dryly. "No phone."

"What do you have, Hutchinson?"

"Where's Joy?" I panicked. I hadn't heard her voice for a few minutes.

"I'm here."

"Stop pacing and sit down," I told her. "We need to stick together." She sat. Her face was wet and she was still shaking. It dawned on me that she was walking to burn off all that nervous energy. "I didn't bring my bag. That was stupid."

"Who had time?" I told her.

"Did you find anything, Kaida?" Zeke asked me again.

"Yeah." I focused my flashlight on the ground. Inside my bag was a thrift-shop sweatshirt that said DANCE! DANCE! in loopy black scrawl. I also had a poncho, the ugly yellow kind you beg your mom not to pack. Thank goodness Mom disregarded my wishes. I also had aspirin that I didn't remember packing and Benadryl that I vaguely associated with fire and Maria. I also had pretzels, a bag of potato chips, and lots of candy, along with two bottles of water, which was now worth its weight in gold. I turned to Zeke. "How about you?"

Zeke gestured at his pack. There was another sweatshirt, blue and crumpled. Another poncho, but his was red. He had some Cheez-Its and Doritos and another couple bottles of water. He also had a GPS, probably the most useful thing either of us had managed to bring. Suddenly I felt like I was suffocating and I began to cry.

"I feel like I'm in a bad movie." Joy rubbed her arms. Then a small light flicked by her face.

I ignored Joy's words and focused on the pinpoint of sparkling orange by her cheek. What was that? A firefly maybe? The strong, shady scent of tobacco filled my nostrils and I was absolutely baffled.

"Wait. . ." I stared at her. "You forgot your bag. You didn't sneak in your phone. But you have a lighter and a cigarette?"

"It's a disposable lighter. It cost less than a dollar. I had two smokes left in my pocket. I didn't even know I had them."

"A disposable lighter?" Zeke cried.

Joy blew out a cloud of smoke in response. I always wondered if people actually puffed out smoke rings in real life, or if actors just did that in movies.

"How many times can you use it?" he pressed.

She flicked it on and off several times. Nothing came out. "It's empty. .. disposable." In the dark, Joy's face was shadowed. All I could see of her were the wispy ribbons veiling her eyes. "Who cares?" Her voice had become less quivery.

Prism. Copyright © by Faye Kellerman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Aliza Kellerman has been writing for years, inspired by her family, which also includes her brother, novelist Jesse Kellerman, and her father, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman. A junior in high school, Aliza enjoys drawing, cartooning, singing, and Faye and Aliza live with Jonathan in los Angeles, California.

Brief Biography

Beverly Hills, California
Date of Birth:
July 31, 1952
Place of Birth:
St. Louis, Missouri
B.A. in Mathematics, 1974; D.D.A., 1978

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Prism 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Cariblogs More than 1 year ago
Prism is so shocking and suspenseful that it will keep you hooked until the very last sentence. In Prism Kaida is not happy about going on a class trip to the desert where everyone is split into vans. Kaida the girl with the purple hair is van pooling with Zeke star of the swim team and Joy who seems nice but is a smoker. They are not the same social circle so the trip starts of really quiet. Mr. Addison, one of the teachers, is driving the van and keeps reminding them to be stay buckled because the road can be dangerous. Soon after they get into a car accident and the van goes up in flames. Kaida, Zeke, and Joy manage to get out and stick together, but there is no sign of Mr. Addison. While trying to decide on what to do in the middle of the dessert it starts to rain and they are forced to find shelter. The shelter they find brings them more problems than help. Kaida wakes up from a strange dream that leaves her feeling uneasy. Everything seems normal except it's days before her trip. When she arrives at school she feels drawn to Zeke and Joy. As the story goes on they discover a world without medicine and healthcare. Kaida meets Ozzy who will risk anything to help her. The world simply believes the weak die out and the strong survive. They try to learn the new rules without drawing to much attention. The group hopes that reliving the crash will lead them back, but surviving long enough is a bigger challenge. Prism is the first book I read by mother daughter duo Faye and Aliza Kellerman. I read the book in a matter of hours because there was no way I could put it down. If you are looking for a good suspenseful thriller I recommend this one!
-dinosaurs- More than 1 year ago
i read this book because it looked kool. i didnt expect it to be great though. it was sorta predictable. but i think it was a good read. i wouldnt recomend it though unless you have nothing els to read or you are just looking for a book with a happy ending or something. i just think it was a cute story.
mrdarcy3 More than 1 year ago
Kaida isn't that excited for the school trip to Carlsbad Caverns, especially when her van includes two people she can't stand. Little does she know, those two people will become her lifeline. Their car crashes and blows up right as the make their escape. They're not sure what happened to their teacher. As the skies open and the rain pours down, they find shelter for the night. In the cave, Joy falls into a hole. Kaida and Zeke fall in as they attempt to rescue her. As they struggle to find a way out, they fall sleep until dawn. Kaida wakes up in her own bed -but in a parallel world. She soon discovers this world is vastly different and people don't like anyone asking questions. Danger follows her around as she attempts to make contact with Joy and Zeke. Together the three of them attempt to unravel the differences between the worlds and if they can return to normal. Is there any hope for Kaida and her friends? My Thoughts: I really liked the book until the abrupt ending. Its hard to explain without spoiling the book, but I needed more, much more.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I have to start off this review stating that I wasn't 100% certain how to classify PRISM. It's one of those stories that definitely transcends more than one category. It's part science fiction with the parallel dimensions. It's contemporary with the tentative love story. But I guess, overall, mostly it would be a mystery as Kaida, Zeke, and Joy try to figure out how they got to where they are and how will they get back home. Kaida Hutchenson (many characters resort to calling her Hutchenson throughout the story) is dreading the class trip to Carlsbad Caverns. It's over a ten hour drive and she's going to be stuck in a van with the jock, Zeke Anderson, and the smoking loner, Joy Tallon. She'd give anything to be in the van with her best friend, Maria, and her sort of boyfriend, Iggy. On the drive, Kaida's van winds up separated from the others. The drive lulls the three to sleep, only to harshly awaken them when the van crashes, flips, and starts to catch fire. The three make it out relatively unscathed, only for them to realize that their teacher has been left inside and is surely dead, as the fire grows out of control. Seeking shelter from the cold and rain, the three teens enter a cave. But it's within this cave that their world changes. Kaida wakes up in her own bed, confused by the bizarre dream she had. She opens her medicine cabinet in the bathroom to retrieve some pain medication, only to find it barren of all medications and containing a bizarre tube: Coyote Cream. She vaguely recalls buying it on a trip somewhere. But when her brother comes into the bathroom and sees the tube, he freaks out, empties the contents, and asks Kaida where she got it and what was she thinking? It's just this sort of bizarre experience that seems to keep happening to Kaida. She's in her familiar surroundings, but it just doesn't seem right. When she approaches Zeke, and he starts to say he had a dream about her...the two slowly come to realize they're involved in something, but not sure what. And when the two speak the same name, Joy, at the same time, they know that something is wrong. With the help of a new student, Ozzy, the teens learn about the world they're now stuck in - a world where health care is nonexistent and medication is illegal and called "spills." They believe the only way back to the world they know is to get back to the cave they sought shelter in the first time. With a very Twilight Zone feeling to the story, PRISM is a book that will keep you entranced until the very end. The concept of a world without any health care is frightening. With dark images of the clean-up crew and a town of dying and ill people, you'll be left to wonder how society survived without everyday staples such as pain medications or antibiotics. PRISM will make you thankful you're in this world and not the alternative one that Kaida, Zeke, and Joy found themselves.
thaisra More than 1 year ago
This book was soo interesting. the story is well done. It has a realistic end and I have a feeling there might be a sequel to this book. Can't wait to read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm trying. I really am. I've poured more of my emotions into my stories than letting it out. Things bottle up and l never have anyone to talk to about anything. I have so many trust issues that even Wyatt worried for awhile. Then he gave up. Tomorrow is our two month anniversary since he asked me out. I don't think he cares anymore. Everyone l care about has left me, in one way or another. And my mother tried drowning me in front of my extended family several times. I hate pools and showers because of that. And the ocean. When you're on your own, it's hard to see anything good. I have you, and Swift, but that's it right now and l don't know how much longer for even this...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Subjects : Amorette Aveton - 13 , Hadley Lockhart - 2 , Viola Ventry - 15 , Delilah Dawns - 16 , Raelene Wisp - 3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awaits her plugger
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 13 and love this book. It takes you through wolds and you feel like ur really in the action! Nihing stops these kids as they race back to whats real. When they wake up in a world with no medicine or medical care, they realize they arent in Kansas anymore ;) i definitely will be recommending this book to my friends.
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This was an amazing read! I couldn't put it down. Enjoyable from beginning to end!
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