Neon’s Secret Universe by Sibéal Pounder

Reviewed by Gail McDonald

Sibéal Pounder is the author of two previous much-loved and seriously stylish children’s fiction series, Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she worked for the Financial Times. Sibéal is also a talented illustrator and lives in England.

Neon’s Secret Universe takes the reader on a journey into the world of Neon Gallup who always felt that she never fitted in and was on a quest to be normal. ‘Never fitting in’ was made worse when her parents decided to move to a new town called Brunty and open a café called Ratty’s.

How embarrassing for Neon, who was just three days away from her tenth birthday. And now her parents wanted her to help out in Ratty’s wearing an apron that was brown and furry with a large rat nose and whiskers on the front pocket. The café sold RATPUCCINO’s instead of cappuccinos. I just want to be normal was her catchcry.

In her new bedroom, Neon found a secret compartment hidden in the windowsill which contained a luminous green lipstick and a small sliver of paper with the note: You now own the rarest object in existence in our world and in theirs.

She opened the lipstick and drew it on the wall and suddenly flashes of colour were shooting around her bedroom and a huge rip in the wall opened – a portal to the Universe. Through the portal came Moya to take Neon into the Universe, the land of the unicorn – the horse with a horn and magic goo.

In the Universe, Neon learns to command goo with a goo wand and experience its magic qualities with some disastrous consequences. But she also learns that she can’t be released back into the human world – (humans can never know the secrets of the UNIverse), unless she becomes a magical unicorn before her tenth birthday.

Throughout her time in Universe, Neon learns to appreciate her problem-solving talents and the wonderful quirks that make us individual.

Eventually Neon succeeds at becoming a magical unicorn and makes it back to Brunty just before her birthday, with a new attitude about the café and Ratty’s and with a lifelong friend in Moya, who now can move through the portal to visit Neon and take her back to Universe.

This is a delightful book for young pre-teens with an abundance of peculiar experiences and thrills.

Neon’s Secret Universe

[2022]

by  Sibéal Pounder

Bloomsbury

ISBN 978 140889 941 9

$14.99; 288pp

 

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