Sarah's Stars

Mary Hooper.  Zara
Bloomsbury $15.00 (£5.99)   ISBN 0-7475-7563-0   182 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 13

... and the glass whizzed across the table, making those on the other side stretch their arms to the full. It skidded to a stop, overturned and crashed to the floor, where it broke.

'Ladies,' Zara said then, rather grandly, 'the sťance is over.'

It started off as a game. A little prank to get Zara and Ella noticed. But as time passes, Zara starts to scare Ella. Her predictions become more elaborate and accurate than ever, her readings disturb the peace and challenge the system. As Ella and the rest of the girls become more and more worried, Zara gains power and reveals secrets no one wanted to know. Is Zara really psychic or is she still just teasing? And when is she going to stop? Does she know how?

Mary Hooper is the author of several books for teenage girls including At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, Petals in the Ashes, Amy, and the award-winning Megan series. The British author has been writing professionally for over 20 years, publishing hundreds of pieces in magazines before her books. I recommend Zara to girls ages 12-15. This novel has 182 pages of realistic fiction.

Do not read this book alone in the dark! Spirits and secrets, betrayal and doubt stalk its pages; mixed carefully into the perfectly normal lives of Ella's classmates by Zara, the strange new girl! Stirred in also are the real life issues the girls begin to realize are part of Zara's everyday life, and how she deals with them. This book is suspenseful and secretive with grainy foreshadowing and effective climaxes. I give Zara four stars, a tale full of shock, spite, and mystery.


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