by Malcolm Chester
Trafford Publishing

"For some reason, Courtney believed the answers to her problems lay in Elysia and not here in the real world... Yet, Courtney had to understand Elysia more than she did."

A hefty volume intended for 10-12 year olds, this book is a child's fantasy that meets adult expectations. Filled with lessons of friendship, responsibility, courage and compassion, Chester provides troubled children with a message of hope for the future and a sense of self-actualization as they travel through the difficult transition between childhood and adolescence.

Courtney's happy home life is disrupted when her father loses his job, sinks into depression and then disappears. When she finds herself in the magical dreamland of Elysia, she finds a world perfectly suited for escape. After making a few friends and exploring her personal interests (incidentally improving her waking life back at home), Courtney discovers the land of Elysia is in danger. Characteristically asserting herself, Courtney must join an expedition into the frightening land of Maelstrom, where the saddest of children go to lose themselves within their hurt and anger, to recover the Crystal of Light that's been stolen. Whether they are successful or not will depend on the strength of the children's friendships and their ability to stand together.

Throughout the novel, Chester keeps the vocabulary and subject tightly geared toward those things that interest and confuse children as they begin to grow up. At the same time, he provides children with a message of empowerment no matter what difficulties they may be facing in the sometimes all-too-real world of adults.

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