Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere

Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere
Ruth Lauren
Little Tiger

Twelve year old Tourmaline lives with her archaeologist mother at the Pellavere University and as the story opens she overhears a conversation and discovers that her mother, Persephone, has gone missing on an expedition. Quickly realising that despite reassurances, not one of the university staff is interested in finding her, Tourmaline decides to take matters into her own hands and launch her own rescue mission. For support she has her best friend, George (son of the Dean), and a new friend of his, Mai who she is yet to trust, but whose mother has recently joined the faculty.

With clues left in her mother’s lab and hastily written warning notes, the three set off on what turns out to be an absolutely incredible adventure to find the Island of Elsewhere, the place Tourmaline thinks her mother is trapped. It involves ‘borrowing’ a motorbike; they encounter fierce female pirates – Captain Violet and her crew, a floating island that disappears, with a maze of mirrors, talking trees and enormous spiders; add to that magical artefacts, trickery and memories that start to diminish.

There are certainly challenges aplenty for the three youngsters each of whom brings their own strengths – Mai’s limitless determination, George’s reliability and loyalty as a friend and Tourmaline’s boldness, bravery and single-minded focus – to a quest that tests their friendship to its utmost. But somehow their belief in each other and in themselves is a key part of this exhilarating story. I love too, Ruth Lauren’s crafting of the relationship between Tourmaline and Persephone – Tourmaline’s hunt for her mother is as much about finding her again in her heart as it is about seeing her again in the flesh. That, and the children’s discovery that yes, there is real magic in the world, though not everyone wants to use it responsibly.

The cliffhanger ending ties up the vital threads of the story but offers further Tourmaline excitement to come. Fresh, funny and gripping this will wrap you in its enchantment sweep you away, unable to stop until you reach the final page, but then, having savoured every word, you really don’t want to it end.

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