Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: Prism by Faye and Aliza Kellerman

Kaida Hutchenson isn't exactly psyched for the class trip to Carlsbad Caverns. Fourteen hours in a van with preppy jock Zeke Anderson and a high-school loner Joy Tallon? No, thank you.

But when a tragic and explosive accident turns the journey into a nightmare, Kaida would give anything to be back on the road. Stumbling at midnight through the unforgiving desert, Kaida, Zeke, and Joy take a refuge in an abandoned cave... until the world goes from pitch-black to blinding. The next thing Kaida knows, she's back home in California and everything is just as it was before the Carlsbad trip ever took place.


Increasingly unnerved by the distorted world around her, Kaida starts receiving unexpected help from mysterious people. Soon she must band together with Zeke and Joy to try to make it back to the reality she remembers... and to survive the one she's fallen into.


Prism was a pretty cool book. Not too long, it was just the right size and flowed smoothly as well. Basically, there's this class trip. When Kaida, Zeke, and Joy end up in one van driven by a teacher, there is some sort of accident and the next thing they realize, the van is flipped and on fire. The kids make it out, but not so lucky for the teacher. Stranded and alone, they try to look for any hope of well, basically any type of help.

To shelter themselves from a huge storm, they take coverage in a nearby cave. (they are in the middle of a desert with no one around, not much food, and little water, and a flashlight or 2). Eventually, they all fall backwards into this pit within the dark cave, while trying to find a way out. It knocks them all out cold. When they wake, they are back home in their own beds. Heres where the fun starts! Most of the story takes place through the eyes of Kaida, which I felt was great. It was great to see things from her perspective, but also to be able to see and feel how she makes the decisions along the way with her was a great way to pen the book.

Ok, so everything seems pretty normal as the kids all wake up believing they had a nightmare. Soon, the 3 kids realize that this was no nightmare, and wherever they are, something is VERY weird. There is no such thing as "medicine" in this reality. If someone is sick, they either get better or die (when they do die, men in all white pull up and cart them away in an ambulance type vehicle. This was weird). Besides no medicine, there are no doctors or hospitals and having a cold is like having a plague.

Now that the 3 of them know they are not in their "reality", they decide to work together to try and find a way home. Kaida meets a guy named "Ozzy", who is affiliated with "spills dealers". These "spills dealers" are really "pills dealers", but in this work, getting pills is highly illegal and can get you thrown in jail. As a matter of fact, even discussing the matter of "spills" and the whole concept of medicine and getting better from a sickness can get you some time in the can.

Getting back to Ozzy, for the most part, he is getting "spills" for his very sick mother. He is a big believer in medication, "spills", and the fact that his world should not be the way it is. He does not believe that people can not be treated from sickness and injury and that going "natural" is the not the right way. He talks of people who have come from another place where medicines, hospitals, and even doctors exist. There are other people who talk of coming from that place too, besides our 3 teens (exactly where do you think these "spills" come from?".

Naturally, Kaida and Ozzy hit it off. Together, with Zeke and Joy, they go to the dealer neighborhood to get some "spills" for Joy, who hurt her arm in the initial fall and it is getting infected. When there, they get busted by the police. In jail, they meet a man named Maurice. Maurice seems to not treat the 3 as harsh as everyone else. Can you guess why??? Well, if not, it is because Maurice is actually from the "other world" himself. He knows the truth, however he has worked in the jails ever since he found himself in this new place. Unable to find a way home, Maurice lives his life in this other reality without revealing his little secret. Coincidentally, all of the stories of people who have apparently come from this other place where medicines exist, doctors are there to treat you, and hospitals are where you go when you are sick to this awkward place all have done so through some form of an accident.

Now, here is where even though exciting, it became a bit predictable. The short of it is, Maurice tries to help the 3 escape. They actually appeared in the "new world" a few weeks before their initial school trip in the van, so it would naturally make sense that they attempt to re-trace their steps, and hope that falling back through the same cave will take them home (if they didn't end up a few weeks back in time, how else would they be able to coincidentally go back to the same exact cave and hope that it will work??). So, they go on the trip and make it back. This time though, they are able to save their teacher. Maurice does not make it back with them, and unfortunately Ozzy does not either. Good news for Kaida, there is the chance that she can find Ozzy in her reality.

Overall, a good book. As you know I do not post books that I do not like. I did think that at times, even though I was able to guess what was coming next, I was anxious to read on. At just over 250 pages, it was the perfect size. I do think that the authors could have added another 100 pages to the book and intensified the plot, introduced some more characters, and added some twists and turns here and there.

Like I said, really good read, not too long, and something I would recommend if you had to take a 2-3 hour car trip and wanted a good read to pass the time. Just make sure it is not a 2-3 hour car ride in the desert in the middle of the night!



  1. Oooh, that sounds intriguing! I think I'd like to read it, even if it is a bit short.

    By the way, I read the book The Rainbow Opera (or Dream Hunter, depending on which country the book is printed in) on your recommendation and I enjoyed it a lot, so thank you. It looks like we enjoy many of the same things.

  2. Sounds pretty good. Sort of reminds me of Stephen King a little bit.

  3. The premise of this book makes it sound pretty cool, but then you added that it's just a wee bit predictable...

    The cover is pretty neat though. And the title. Plus I have to admit, a world without medicine or doctors or hospitals sounds quite original to me. ^,^

  4. Hmmm, this sounds like a great book for a rainy day! I'll have to snap it up for next time. It's raining here now. I've got a copy of 'Catching Fire' which I'm sure I'll tear through, but I'm going to make sure "Prism' gets put on the top of my rainy day pile.

  5. I've read all of Jonathan Kellerman's books (her husband) and was very interested to see she had a YA book out. Thanks for the review. I feel confident buying it now!

  6. This sounds like the kind of book I can pick up and not put down until I have finished it. It goes on my list of TBR to purchase.

  7. I feel I have already read the book. Plot spoilers abound. I might read it if I see it in the library, though. I'm always looking for 2 hour books.

  8. Great review, I am curious about these mysterious people.

  9. I've been interested in this book for months, way before it was published. Thanks for this review! Now I want to read it even more!

  10. Great review! Never heard of the book before but now I want to read it. Thanks!