Monday 18 June 2012

The Week at Mon Repose

The Week at Mon Repose by Margaret Pearce (Astraea Press)
E-book RRP $2.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1-62135-034-7
Reviewed by Jo Wishart

‘Dead enough to be the local cemetery’ is Jenny’s assessment of Mon Repose boarding house. She and her cousin, Allie, are stuck there for the week while their parents are working. Full of noisy families and elderly folks, there’s not much in the way of excitement for two teenagers. That is, until the girls meet goth-esque Marilyn and together they discover a dusty Ouija board in the attic.

The author evokes teenage boredom well and captures that sense of a building and surrounds as seen by young eyes – zoned according to entertainment potential. After the girls ask for something that will give them ‘what they all want’, they are led on a strange adventure ending up with a fledgling genie trapped in their dimension and a sinister houseguest who has doublecrossed them all. 

After riding the genie’s horses in a national park and getting caught by rangers, the girls are landed with a hefty fine and the horses impounded. The story borders on wacky and gets even wackier when their genie friend also starts to fade away, prompting the girls to take action to save him and right everything that has gone wrong. With themes including friendship and trust, Mon Repose also raises questions about what we think we want versus what really brings us joy in life.

Margaret Pearce is a Melbourne author and self-confessed compulsive writer. Many of her books are available electronically and are aimed at middle grade readers. Mon Repose is an enjoyable read that evoked memories of staying with my own cousins for weeks on end, looking for things to do and enduring unfamiliar and occasionally unpalatable meals. Pearce has included sufficient backstory to give some depth to the characters and the fast pace, action and fairy tale elements should go down well with the target audience.

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