3 out of 4 stars
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On track to become a young scientist, Parker is the first senior in her high school to get accepted into Johns Hopkins. However, her plans stop short when a small hummingbird starts visiting her window every day like clockwork. When curiosity gets the best of her, Parker becomes determined to unveil its message or purpose. Following the bird out onto her terrace and reaching over the rail of her 18-story high apartment, Parker loses balance and plunges straight down.
Fortunately, instead of meeting her end, Parker awakens untouched and intact in a different world called Spyridon. On this planet inhabited by evolved birds and sea monsters, the ill-effects of climate change and war continue to intensify. Three teenagers are tasked with solving these problems: introverted Parker, irritable Henley, and level-headed Edison. This is One If by Carol B Allen, a fantasy adventure book.
I admire the author's efforts to teach young readers about the extreme and destructive effects that climate change can have when ignored. Putting a spotlight on the hardships inflicted on the vulnerable, a parallel to how climate change impacts underdeveloped nations on our planet, is an important lesson. This knowledge may broaden the perspective of young minds, making them more motivated to tackle this issue. She also emphasized the significance of a single individual in combating its effects, inspiring readers to do their part.
I also liked how whimsical and imaginative the book was. The flying sessions, talking birds, and jelly-portals will certainly keep young readers entertained. The author's writing felt very detailed and rich. I often felt like she was painting a vibrant picture right in my mind. I appreciate that she put a lot of thought into building this world and its culture and traditions. There are were little nuggets of science sprinkled through the book as well, but it was well-written and accessible for anyone to read.
One thing I didn't like about the book was that the exposition seemed long and drawn-out. It felt like the details about the world were all dumped at the beginning, which prevented us from jumping into the action. I think it would be a more enjoyable read if these same details were woven throughout the book instead. Additionally, I hoped for more character development between the three teenagers. By the end of the book, I didn't feel like I knew the characters, nor did it feel like they knew each other. Since Parker seemed to tour around the planet most of the time, there was little interaction between her and the other two to allow them to form a bond.
Although I hoped for more in terms of the plot and characters, I am rating this book 3 out of 4 stars. It still has a lot of fantasy elements that can entertain a young audience, and its root messages have the power to inspire and kindle passion. The book seems professionally edited as I did not detect any serious errors. I recommend this book to imaginative young readers and fantasy lovers. I sincerely hope its messages are spread far and engrained in young minds to shape a better tomorrow.
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