________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 10. . . .November 5, 2010.


The Anemara Orchid.

Laurie Nenson.
Regina, SK: Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, 2010.
233 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-894431-44-6.

Grades 8-10 / Ages 13-15.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.





She closed her eyes and inhaled slowly and deeply. The only thought occupying her mind was the fantasy that would unfold on Friday evening- meeting her favorite idol in the flesh. What will it be like to gaze into his bright blue eyes? Will he be even better looking than his photographs? Is it possible he could be more perfect than I imagine? She smiled at the thought. She’d find out soon! What will he wear? What will I wear? Will he take the time to have a conversation with me? What should I have him autograph? My hand…my ankle…my heart!

Lost in the possibilities, Willa’s mind settled far away in another place and time. With the sweet scent of that perfect purple flower drifting in through her open bedroom window to linger in her mind, she reached the most tranquil state of unconsciousness her body had ever experienced. 
Though she assumed she was falling asleep and traveling to dreamland just as she regularly did, the day had already hinted at a new exploration of the depths of her subconscious imagination.

Why? She had no idea.

Willa’s winning entry in the Go Dream contest will enable her to live out a fantasy. She has won front row seats to hear her favorite band perform to a sold-out audience and backstage passes for a photo shoot in the evening. This dream come true comes with a price though. She has to choose which of her two best friends gets the extra ticket. She could give it to her newest friend, Ava, or her oldest friend, Greta. As Willa reflects on each friendship, she questions if her behavior has changed due to her family’s inheritance and if there was a reason she was chosen to win this contest. As Willa contemplates going to the concert with each friend, she realizes she will have to face conversations she’s been avoiding and make decisions about what friendship means to her. Guiding her through this process are 12 members of Elancera, magical sages who help souls in need of guidance.

     The plot has promise, and the book ends with a pleasant surprise which makes everyone happy, but with the introduction of Elancera, the majority of the story reads more like an unlikely dream-like journey. In addition, the author makes Willa out to be a 14-year-old who is incapable of making decisions on her own. The descriptions of nature and Willa’s surroundings are beautiful, but I think this book will have many readers skipping the drawn-out dream portion of the story to find out who gets the extra ticket for the concert.

     Published by Your Nickel’s Worth in Saskatchewan, The Anemara Orchid is the first book in a projected four book series.

Recommended with reservations.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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