3.6 12
by Penni Russon, Melissa Eccleston

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Being sixteen is confusing and unpredictable enough for anyone. But if you're Undine, you also begin hearing voices calling you home in the middle of the night and then you suddenly produce a storm out of thin air. Your best friend Trout insists on falling messily in love with you, while you end up with a crush on his older brother. Meanwhile, the ocean begins


Being sixteen is confusing and unpredictable enough for anyone. But if you're Undine, you also begin hearing voices calling you home in the middle of the night and then you suddenly produce a storm out of thin air. Your best friend Trout insists on falling messily in love with you, while you end up with a crush on his older brother. Meanwhile, the ocean begins appearing in your inland bedroom, and your dead father turns out to be not so dead after all...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Australian author Russon's supernatural thriller succeeds thanks to an engrossing, off-kilter mystery and a cast of adolescent characters rendered through pitch-perfect dialogue. Sixteen-year-old Undine begins to have bad feelings, the kind she hasn't had since her beloved stepfather was killed in an accident almost four years prior. She had premonitions before that tragedy, and now she is feeling uneasy again-and begins hearing a voice telling her, "It's time to come home." A stanza from The Tempest, written on a paper bearing her name as its watermark, ends up on her doorstep, and she and her best friend, Trout, become convinced that her father (whom she had been told died before she was born) is alive and reaching out to her. Undine sets off to find him, leading to an intelligent and thoughtful showdown of sorts between the heroine and her parents, both of whom harbor deep secrets. The narrative gets a bit too clever in places (her father, who sent her the Shakespeare verse, is named Prospero Marine) but the atmosphere is involving. Undine and Trout, two-thirds of a romantic triangle, make a compelling and believable pair, grappling with the equally daunting burdens of newfound magical ability and of ordinary high school. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Teenager Undine doesn't understand herself. That isn't unusual. She hears a compelling voice that urges her to go to the ocean, and she finds that she can "make things happen"--such as storms. That IS unusual. But Undine just wants to be normal. She hates the fact that her father is missing, and she wants a typical dating life. Her soul mate Trout is too shy to pursue her, so she agrees to be his smarmy brother's date instead. Undine still is not satisfied; she needs to confront her father and deal with her feelings and her magical powers, regardless of her inner turmoil. If she doesn't, she may hurt others even more. This story relates to the original myth of Undine, but has a contemporary spin that will attract bright middle schoolers and younger high schoolers. The characters have sufficient angst to enable readers to identify with the pains of growing up, and the magical elements add to the enticement. This will probably be a popular work. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2006, Harper Collins, 325p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Dr. Lesley Farmer
Sixteen-year-old Undine lives in an Australian town with her mother, Lou, and her three-year-old brother, Jasper. Jasper's father is dead, and Lou has always told Undine that her father died before she was born. Undine starts to experience unusual feelings, and confiding in her neighbor and best friend, Trout, she realizes that she has some special powers, which she uses one afternoon to create a storm. She also starts hearing a voice in her head that tells her, "Undine, it's time to come home," and in the mornings, she awakens to the smell of salt air and finds bits of sea life in her home. With the help of clues from Shakespeare's Tempest, she locates her father, Prospero, at a remote ocean bay and learns the truth about her magic and her family. The secondary story, dealing with issues of friendship and romance, will appeal to teens. The Australian dialect has not been changed for this book, giving it some flavor, possibly encouraging readers to look outside of themselves and their communities. Undine's family is contemporary-half-siblings, parents addressed by their first names, friends in the roles of family members-which will help many readers to identify with Undine. The story is captivating, and Russon makes good use of suspense as well as of literature and science, to keep her readers interested. Undine is a thinking person's story. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Greenwillow, 336p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
—Jenny Ingram
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Undine isn't your ordinary teenage girl. She doesn't like Tuesdays, has a best friend named Trout, and can cause storms to form out of thin air. She comes from a tight-knit family that includes her mother, brother, and aunt. She has always been told that her father died before she was born but a mysterious whispering voice convinces her that he is still alive. Trout, thanks to his love of Shakespeare, links the words that the voice is speaking with The Tempest. After the book itself appears in her house, Undine figures out where the voice is calling from and goes to meet her father. Teens will empathize with this girl who has magical powers that she can't control and a desire for a father who loves her for herself, not the powers she possesses or what he can gain from them. The strength of Russon's writing and the intensity of the story itself will draw readers to Undine, but they will also find some familiar themes, such as unrequited love, reflected in her best friend, Trout. Australia creates an interesting backdrop and readers will enjoy some of the unfamiliar slang. This novel offers readers a new and interesting magical twist as well as a surprise ending.-June H. Keuhn, Corning East High School, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A rather lovely if unresolved coming-of-age story with a jolt of magic. Undine is 16 and her best friend, Trout, is one of the boys next door. Her mother says her father is dead, and she, Undine and Undine's small brother Jasper form a tight triad. Undine has feelings she doesn't understand-a pull toward the sea, memories and nightmares, even a voice she hears in her head-that complicate all the usual teen emotional outrage. One time in desperation she discovers she can create an actual storm and Trout sees it; later, she almost seduces Trout's older brother using the sea-born power she can scarcely define. When she finds that the voice in her head is her father, Prospero Marine, who is definitely not dead, she confronts him out of longing and a desperate desire to know. The language is vivid and rich, full of references to The Tempest in an Australian setting, but neither the romance nor the magic quite becomes whole in the end. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Bolinda Audio
Publication date:
Undine Trilogy Series, #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
15 - 17 Years

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Read an Excerpt


By Penni Russon

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Penni Russon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060793899

Chapter One

Undine trailed down the stairs to the bathroom. She felt a lump of something, starting at the base of her spine and working its way upward. It wasn't a physical something, though it belonged inside her body, under her skin, trapped inside the fine network of muscle, tissue, nerves, and bone. She knew what was happening because it had happened before and even though she felt a shiver of fear, she told herself firmly that mostly she was annoyed, because it was Tuesday, and Tuesdays were -- on the whole -- not to be trusted.

As the lump worked its way up and prepared to inhabit her mind, she spoke sharply to it. "Stop it. Stop it. Not on Tuesdays."

It stopped for the time being, and she managed to continue her preparations for the day: locating her math book, extricating her homework from Jasper's tight grasp -- "Mine, mine," said Jasper, and, You can have it, thought Undine. But she continued to prise Jasper's fingers away and replaced the assignment with a bank statement so Jasper wouldn't cry. She dressed herself in her crumpled uniform and settled on one blue sock and one almost-blue sock because, after all, it was Tuesday and not everything could be expected to go right.

Tuesdays were just badly designed, she thought crossly, as Lou danced in front ofher with a piece of burnt toast and a coffee. They didn't have the anticipation and freshness of Mondays, when you woke up with the weekend still singing in your mind, and made resolutions to be more organized for the rest of the week, and looked forward to school so you could hear who wore what to Nick's party and the various assorted minutiae that colored other people's lives. By Tuesday, the weekend was well and truly done with -- old news -- and the next weekend felt a long way away.

Undine ate a halfhearted breakfast while Lou tried to pack Jasper's backpack with the absurd quantity of stuff an almost-three-year-old was expected to take to day care. Jasper was sitting at his table and chair set, made of bright yellow plastic, conducting experiments with his toast and juice. Undine eyed the results queasily, her own toast flipping over in her stomach, and decided it was a good time to beat a hasty retreat.

She swept on Lou in midflight to give her a kiss good-bye, and -- remembering the feeling she had had that morning -- an oversized hug. Lou raised her eyebrows. "Tuesdays aren't that bad, Undine. I'm sure we'll both survive another one. Off you go, horrible adolescent, or you'll miss the bus."

Undine shrugged and smiled foolishly, but the shiver of fear returned. She bent down and buried her face in Jasper's hair, which smelled of vegemite and orange juice. Jasper was busy squelching wet toast through his fingers. Undine sighed.

"How about you be the horrible adolescent and I'll be the baby."

Jasper gave her a withering look. "I'm not a baby. I'm a Busy Bee," he said, naming the big kids' room at day care that he had graduated into early because he was too boisterous for the toddlers' room.

"Too busy for me," said Undine cheerfully, surveying the results of his industry and giving him another squeeze.

"Go on," said Lou, shooing Undine away with both arms, "before I make you clean up this child."

Undine ran through the door, shaking off the residual feelings and flutters of fear, determined to push them way, way down for as long as she could. Still, she couldn't help but peek back through the living room window, to see Jasper patting his juice and toast concoction onto Lou's smiling face.

Undine lived in the old part of Hobart near the rivulet, in a crooked little house that was halfway up a concrete flight of stairs between two streets.

It was a very complicated place to live, because the two streets were in different suburbs and controlled by different councils, and no one could ever decide exactly which street they lived on. Their mail came addressed to either 2½ Myrtle Street (which was below them), or 43b Camelot Road (which was above them). Every year arrangements were made about the rates, but the next year they would receive two bills and the councils would bicker over it, with Lou caught in the middle.

Every time the bills arrived, Lou would sigh and say, "I wish, just once, neither of them would send us a bill."

Although the house was a bit dilapidated, its thick stone had been covered with whitewashed stucco, and it had a pale blue door and shutters on the front window. The house looked as if it belonged more in the glaring whitish-blue light of the Greek islands than under Australian pepperminty gums scribbling their branches in the sky overhead.

There was a long, crouching attic bedroom at the top of the house for Undine, a bigger bedroom downstairs for Lou, and a triangle-shaped space that jutted out unexpectedly to one side of the house for Jasper.

Most of the time Undine liked living in No-Man's-Land, as she and her mother called it. She loved her bedroom, with its sloped ceiling and long windows on either side, looking over the back garden at one end and the steps at the other. The window that looked over the front was what Lou called a French window, which meant it was big enough to climb out of, onto a balcony that was just the right size for her to sit on. She had put up shelves on the outside walls and crowded them with busy little pots of geraniums. It was her favorite place to be; she felt like Rapunzel or Juliet, or some other fated and mysterious woman, sitting up there, watching the sky for bats on the edge of dusk, or eating bread and honey on a summer Sunday morning.


Excerpted from Undine by Penni Russon Copyright © 2006 by Penni Russon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Penni Russon's first novel, Undine, was named a Notable Book of the Year by the Children's Book Council of Australia. Ms. Russon grew up in a bush suburb of Hobart, where there was snow in winter and bushfires in summer. She now lives in Melbourne with her young family, and every winter she dreams of snow.

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Undine 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
JessicaDay More than 1 year ago
This book was definately not the best. It wasn't very good... I did like Todd though, his character kept me reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so cativating! I read this two years ago, and when I did, I could never put it down. This novel puts you in a trance that makes it hard to say goodbye. I really enjoyed reading this and I hope it appplies to you too. It is by far a favorite!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG waaaaaaay too much romance it kind of grossed me out >:p but i am only 10 but still little too much romance but other then that it was awesome! I would def reccomend this if you like love triangles
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Undine is about a girl who has been living her whole life thinking her father died before she was born. With magical powers that inhibit her, she hears a voice in her head telling her "It's time to come home, Undine". With the help of her best friend, Trout, Undine finds more than she ever thought was in her life. Theres a mystery about her and her magic. It is as if she controls the oceans, the storms, lures people unknowingly, and has the power either to create or destroy. Undine is a book for those who enjoy magic, romance, and many different, peculiar things. It's as if her magic jumps out of the book and lures you to this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
luher More than 1 year ago
it may not be the best book i have ever read, but it hooked me and i fell in love with the characters. i don't know why others didn't like it i thought it was very interesting. but i have to say that the second one is a lot better.But over all it is truly a great book to sit down with and read it cover to cover in one sitting.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book, the cover and snippet on the back looked promising. However, the book was disappointing. Halfway through, the plot still hadn't come in, and the ending was both stupid and confusing. The main character, Undine, spends most of the time whining about her 'sixth sense'. The writing all in all was good, but badly put together. The whole love triangle was both pointless and annoying--she kept falling in love with the wrong person, which really irked me. And the last few pages were just "What the heck?" It could have been better, MUCH better. It was good for a light read, but it left much to be desired. I thought it was an unsatisfactory book and will not pick it up again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The storyline blew by fast and I was certainly eager to see how everything would turn out. Not worth 5 stars but worth enough to make me want to read the sequel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this title. It has a little to much romance in it for me but it had me hook till the end.