No Passengers Beyond this Point by Gennifer Choldenko (2011)

Ever since I found out they kicked Pluto out of the planets, I have not been feeling so sure about a lot of things (p 26).

no-passengers-beyond-this-pointTwelve-year-old Finn has noticed his mother struggling but it comes as a surprise when she informs Finn and his sisters, fourteen-year-old India and brainy little Mouse, they must leave California to live with their Uncle Red in Colorado. With their house repossessed by the bank, the siblings have no choice. Finn must abandon his basketball team. India must part with her best friend Maddy, and Mouse can’t take her explosion equipment. Their mother, staying behind to finish teaching out the school year, will join them later.

But the children don’t arrive in Colorado. Instead, they travel down the proverbial rabbit hole when their plane lands in Falling Bird, a seemingly nonsensical world where the children find their dream houses awaiting them, crowds cheering their arrival, and an idealized version of a mother or father attending them (reminiscent of Coraline).

This is an enjoyable adventure for early chapter book readers exploring the importance of family, individuality, and responsibility. It’s twilight-zonish conclusion provides a quick but somber explanation.

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