Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

It all began with a balloon. Being the youngest and lightest working on the airship, Aurora, Matt Cruse was sent across the ocean thousands of feet in the air to rescue a balloon and the injured man aboard. On the Aurora the old man soon dies, seemingly going crazy. He talked of strange creatures he saw in the sky. His last words were to Matt: “I only wish Kate could have seen them.”

So begins Kenneth Oppel’s creative, other-worldly novel, Airborn.

Matt soon meets the rich Kate De Vries, a passenger on the Aurora. She is a strong, stubborn character with a passion for science and books.

She reveals to Matt one of her many secrets: She is the balloonist’s granddaughter and is determined to see the strange creatures he spoke of to Matt and wrote about so vividly in his journal

A pirate attack causes a problem with the Aurora and things are not looking good for the airship. Matt is having trouble staying loyal to both his captain and Kate.

This is an exciting and unpredictable story. As soon as circumstances seem to be getting better, there is a turn for the worst.

Airborn also demonstrates the beauty of nature and things untouched by human civilization. As Matt and Kate discover, there are places where very few have ever been and even fewer have returned from. This plants a spark of hope and imagination in reader’s minds to hear of such places as Oppel beautifully describes.

There’s a little of everything in Airborn: romance, adventure, mystery, an exciting trip to lost islands, flying pirate ships, and many other secrets in the sky.

Reviewed by Sabine, Teen Advisory Board member

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