School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—In this sequel to Meridian (Delacorte, 2009), Meridian is learning what it takes to be a Fenestra, one who helps souls pass from life to death. With the help of her protectors Tens and Custos, she sets out to find others like her. They enter the town of Helios and meet Joi, a friendly waitress who helps them get acclimated to their new surroundings. At the same time, Juliet, a 15-year-old orphan, works to make a nursing home that doubles as an orphanage a haven for all who dwell there. She comforts the younger inhabitants and helps the older ones pass to the next life. She struggles, always questioning her worth. The head mistress neglects and mistreats everyone. With the help of local townspeople, Meridian, Tens, and Custos help Juliet learn of her Fenestral roots and eventually convince her of her true calling. At the same time, other forces threaten the Fenestras. While readers may have a hard time understanding the flow of the book at first due to the dual first-person accounts, sticking with it is well worth the effort. An intricately woven web of crossing paths leads to a beautiful tale of self-discovery, self-acceptance, communication, family, trust, and love.—Kathryn Kennedy, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
VOYA - Dawn Talbott
Meridian is a special sixteen year old. She belongs to a group of half angels called Fenestra, whose purpose is to help dying souls cross over into heaven. Meridian and her Protector, Tens, are on a quest to locate another Fenestra that needs their help. Juliet lives at Dunkelbarger, a home for elderly and orphans, which is run by Mistress, a cruel and abusive woman that is basically hired help for the dark forces working against the Fenestra, called Nocti. Meridian and Tens must find a way to rescue Juliet, who knows nothing about her special abilities and calling. This book is the second in the Meridian series. Kizer does a good job of creating believable characters, even when some of the situations they are involved in are supernatural. It is easy to identify with Meridian and even Juliet, who is leading a very hard and different life than the average person. Part of this because of Kizer's down-to-earth writing style. It is creative and vivid enough to convey meaning and images without being too contrived. Although there are no drastic plot twists, the story does move at a good pace and holds interest. A few passages discuss the feelings and longing that Meridian has for her boyfriend, and because the two are traveling together and staying in a cabin together, some of the themes are more appropriate for older readers. There is nothing too explicit, however, aside from a minor curse word here and there. All in all, this is a good story. Reviewer: Dawn Talbott
Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Dying is the last thing most people think about, but it is something everyone has to face one day. The good news is (in this fantasy) that people do not face their dying moment alone. Human-angel-like beings called Fenestras are the link between the dying and the beyond. They help souls make the transition safely into the afterlife. They are the light that the dying sees as they pass out of this life; but appear totally human to the living. Medridian Sozu is a Fenestra and was taught her craft by her beloved Auntie who died recently. Medridian is on a quest to find other Fenestras because they are threatened by the Aternocti, the dark force, who steel souls from the Light and puts them in the void of Evil. She and Tens Valdes, her soul mate and Protector, find their way to Dunklebarger, a nursing home, where the very old and very young live. It is the only place Juliet has known as home, and she tries to make it as livable and loveable as she can despite the cruelty of the headmistress. As she reaches her sixteenth birthday she is slowly losing her will to live. She has no idea that she and others at Dunklebarger are also Fenestras. Meridian and Tens have to find Juliet and the others before it is too late. This is a suspenseful thriller that readers will enjoy. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
Adolescence is hard enough without having to save the world from death and destruction.
This sequel toMeridian(2009) opens three weeks after 16-year-old Meridian, a part-human/part-angel Fenestra, or "window" that helps dying souls pass on, and her protector/boyfriend Tens saved a Colorado town from Nocti (evil spirits in human form that try to send souls to hell). They're traveling the country, looking for fellow Fenestras, when Meridian feels drawn to Carmel, Ind. Fifteen-year-old Juliet, an unknowing Fenestra, has been living in this sleepy town at a center that doubles as an group home for the elderly and a foster-care home. The teens' alternating viewpoints tell this hefty story, which, like many second novels in a series, builds on the first but ultimately leads up to a third. Meridian provides back story, uses her great-aunt's journal to discover more about Fenestras and schemes to find Juliet and save her before she's forced by Nocti to become one of their own. All the while she ponders her free will, her developing body and why Tens keeps putting off their first time having sex. Meanwhile, Juliet gives (over and over again) a look at her abusive situation—she's constantly punished and must care nonstop for the residents—and her burgeoning Fenestra talents.
Some of the day-to-day events may be hard to believe, but this is a book about angels and demons after all; fans will forgive.(Paranormal romance. 12-16)
Read an Excerpt
“Pulloverpulloverpullover!” I screeched as we approached the outskirts of another small town.
One more bump, one more pothole sitting in this beater truck, and I was going to lose my mind. Tens and I were just past three weeks from leaving the wreckage of Revelation, Colorado, on our Divine-tasked quest to find other Fenestra. More people, girls, like me. More Protectors like Tens. Supposedly, there was one, somewhere in the state of Indiana, who needed our help.
“Pleasepleaseplease!” Now at the tail end of January, it had been nearly a month since Jasper’s granddaughter brought us the newspaper article about a cat who predicted deaths and a girl called the Grim Reaper.
It was impossible to think in the bouncing, flouncing truck. I refused to inhale any more hay dust, mud particles, and springs of decades past, not for another second. I heard my brain rolling in circles around the inside of my skull like a Super Ball. “We’ve been driving for lifetimes, Tens. Pull over!” I shouted.
Unflappable as always, Tens didn’t take his eyes off the road. “Meridian, we’re almost there. It hasn’t been that long today. You’re exagger--”
I cut him off. “Long enough. I need to stretch. Just for a minute. Here’s good.” I reached for the door handle as we passed a sign proclaiming Welcome to Carmel, Indiana.
“Here?” He slowed, but didn’t stop the truck.
I needed out.
“Here.” I leapt out. As Tens parked the truck along the curb, I breathed in warm pre-spring air, huffing and puffing like I’d been running instead of sitting.
Custos sprang out of the truck bed, disappearing into the shadows. If I glanced around, I knew I’d see her. But knowing she was watching from the periphery was enough for the moment. I hadn’t truly figured out whether she was more than dog, more than wolf. But I suspected.
Tens unfolded and walked around to the front of the cab, waiting for me like one of the Queen’s guards. I knew that expression. All patience, calm, and deliberation. He used it with wild animals in traps.
I closed my eyes against the irritation with him I felt bubbling up. “I have a feeling about this place.” I knew it as truth, as soon as the words left my mouth.
Tens brushed the area with his glance, taking in every detail, assessing our safety in a blink. “Good or bad?”
Frustrated, I blew out a snort and rubbed my palms on my thighs. Our third day on the road, the newspaper article had mysteriously gone blank, the ink disappearing. Now all we had left was flimsy newsprint and our memories to guide us. I kept expecting another sign. Something I recognized, something that told me we were on the right path. Only nothing presented itself. Each day flowed into the next and failure frayed my edges.
Where was she? This mysterious girl like me, hunted by the Nocti, needed by the good, by everything that was light, clean and pure. What was she thinking? Was she wishing someone would fall from the sky and tell her she wasn’t a freak? Or did she understand her destiny and feel confident in herself?
“Meridian? Good or bad feeling?” Tens loped toward me, carefully keeping his distance. I didn’t bite, but I’d been cranky enough lately that I understood his reticence.
“I don’t know yet.” I turned away, trying to puzzle out the gut feeling twisting me up. “Why don’t you sense it, too? Why can’t you sense her? What good is your gift if we can’t count on it? What if we don’t find her? Are we supposed to drive every road in the state, and the next state, and then . . . what? Canada? Mexico? I can’t believe we’re supposed to drive around for the rest of our lives eating burgers and sleeping in crappy motels.” We had plenty of money, thanks to Auntie. What we didn’t want to do was grab the interest of authorities--the last thing we needed was a Good Samaritan wanting to rescue a minor from life on the road. Although sixteen and old enough to drop out of high school, I still resembled a barely pubescent girl. I didn’t look a day over fourteen, and Tens’s intimidating nature screamed criminal. Not a good combination for keeping a low profile.
“You’re tired.” He said this like it explained everything, including my volatile attitude.
Pissed, I hissed up at him, “Don’t patronize me.” Of course I was tired. We never ceased driving, not for more than a few hours at a time. We’d been to every retirement and nursing home from the southern Indiana border to the middle of the state. I walked in circles, kicking the truck’s tires.
I craved a bit of balance, stillness for my soul. Direction wasn’t enough on this quest; I wanted a clear purpose. What was the point of sending us out in blind ignorance? Not for the first time I wished for a conversation with the Creators--the rule makers. I wanted one of those comment cards. Fenestras shouldn’t have to operate alone and vastly outmatched by the community of Nocti, who had each other and leaders and clear mandates to destroy and bring suffering. Me--my team? We simply had journeys and lessons and growth. Yee-haw for the good guys.
Tens sighed and leaned over the hood of the truck. “Fine, you’re not tired. You’re thinking clearly and you’re not wailing like a toddler who didn’t get the lollipop. Tantrum much?” He rested his face in his hand, huffed a breath, and straightened toward me.
My mouth gaped. Then I choked back an utterly bitchy retort. He was right. He was always right. “Wow. Harsh.”
“Yeah, sorry. No excuse.” He softly brushed hair off my neck and kneaded the muscles knotted in my shoulders, successfully turning my claws into purrs. “I’m hungry. You have to be hungry. Let’s go in there.” He kissed the top of my head and turned me gently toward the restaurant behind us. He patted my butt flirtatiously, shocking a giggle from my throat.
From the Hardcover edition.