No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko
When three siblings discover that their mother has lost their house to foreclosure, they have only a few days to pack up and get ready to move to live with an Uncle they barely know. To get to his home, they have to take a plane to Colorado. But that is where everything starts to get odd. India, Finn and Mouse find themselves getting off the plane and entering a world that makes little sense. No one has heard of Uncle Red, they are met by a pink taxi with feathers, and each of them seems to have their very own house to live in that was designed just for them. As they struggle to figure out where they are, the clock starts ticking and the book becomes a race against time in a world that none of them understands.
Choldenko has switched genres here, away from the historical world of Al Capone Does My Shirts and into a magical alternate reality. However, she continues to write compelling characters living ordinary yet extraordinary lives. Though the book often has readers trying to figure out the rules of the alternate world, Choldenko’s characters never leave one in doubt. They are well drawn, their reactions make sense, and their motivations are consistent.
The crispness of her writing continues as well. I found myself immediately drawn into the relationship of these three siblings, which is beautifully complex. Each of them has their own point of view and the chapters rotate between them. The deeper disputes and issues between them are explained throughout the book, often becoming pivotal in the book’s resolution.
Choldenko’s pacing is also well done. She gives readers a chance to get to know the three main characters at their home first, before they are drawn into the alternate world. There the pace slows and then races, driven deftly by the writing. At moments where the children are lingering, the book slows too. Then when the story begins to fly, the pace matches that as well.
I can see this book being one that readers will either love or hate. One has to be willing to follow a beloved author down a new path and take a wild ride of a journey with her. I was happy to take this trip. Get this in the hands of fans of The Kneebone Boy. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from ARC received from Dial Books.
Also reviewed by
Killin’ Time Reading
Ms. Yingling Reads
My Brain on Books