GALAX-ARENA by Gillian Rubinstein


Age Range: 13 & up
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 Rubinstein (Dog In, Cat Out, 1993, etc.) takes a provocative view in her novel that is unrelenting in its savagery and grimness. Her 21st-century Australia is familiar enough, with families divorcing and children left homeless, but she also foresees the decline of nationalism under a tidal wave of global corporate power to such an extreme that countries no longer guarantee or protect an individual's rights. No one notices when teenage Joella is kidnapped with her brother, Peter, and adopted sister, Liane, by the mysterious and charismatic Hythe. He takes them aboard a rocket ship to the distant planet Vexa. While they grieve for home, Hythe forces them to compete as acrobats with other adolescents in the Galax-Arena. Joella is spared the sadistic cruelty of the game, but her siblings grow to enjoy it. She becomes a pet to a Vexan who reveals to Joella that she is actually a frail old woman under grotesque alien makeup--and that they are still on Earth. The games are part of a corporate project to unlock the secret of eternal youth. Although the siblings' escape and subsequent murder of Hythe are suitably visceral, it is the lingering sense of unease and apathy they find back home that is insidious and haunting. (Fiction. 13+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-689-80136-X
Page count: 170pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1995


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