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A hoverboard appeared in her rearview mirror. “This is the Los Angeles Air Patrol,” a voice boomed. “I command you to land your vehicle in the name of the law.” Noli Braddock and her best friend V’s incident with a flying auto have landed them in a heap of trouble. And when Noli is sent to a spirit-squelching reform school in San Francisco, she’s sure that her rebellious adventures are over. Meanwhile, Kevighn Silver has been ordered by the Faerie Queen to bring a mortal girl back to the Otherworld. The magic requires a blood sacrifice every seven years, and only a mortal girl who shines with the Spark—a girl like Noli—will keep the Otherworld from complete destruction. When an ill-timed wish sends Noli tumbling into the Otherworld, she’s more homesick than ever . . . until V arrives to save her from an untimely demise. But who exactly is V? And if he helps Noli escape, who will save the realm of Faerie from utter annihilation?
In Lazear's debut novel, partly set in an alternate 1901 California, the author presents a world and a heroine animated by the can-do spirit that typifies the steampunk genre. The independent streak that lands 16-year-old Magnolia "Noli" Braddock in a draconian reform school (after she crashes a flying car) also attracts Kevighn Silver, huntsman to the faery high queen. He's searching the mortal realm for a girl with "the Spark" to save the faery Otherworld from fading away forever. Desperate to escape the terrible Findlay House, Noli unwittingly transports herself to the Otherworld and into Kevighn's clutches. It's up to her natural smarts and her best friend V (who has secrets of his own) to keep her alive. In addition to creating an intriguing world and cast, Lazear weaves real substance into her story. The characters wrestle with the ethics of the situation, which boil down to the life of one girl weighed against those of an entire race, and their roles in it. This first book in the Aether Chronicles has style and substance to spare. Ages 15 up.