Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Zillah Bethell
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Auden Dare cannot see color. What’s worse is that he lives in a time of war and water shortages. Auden and his mother are about to move with their meager belongings while his father is away fighting in the Water Wars. They have inherited a house from his deceased uncle, a university scientist. Auden comes into contact with Vivi, a classmate, who also received a letter from his uncle. The two begin to form a friendship as the piece together the mysterious clues left behind for them. They soon discover a robot named Paragon that was created by the uncle. Paragon seems to know a lot about poetry, history, and the scientific names of animals, but little about what his purpose is. Auden and Vivi begin to form a friendship with this peculiar robot, but they know that he must stay hidden. The Water Allocation Board and military begin to suspect his existence and the children must work together to find out Paragon’s true purpose.
The Extraordinary Colors of Auden Dare is delight to read. Zillah Bethell writes with imagination and exquisite detail. Auden and Vivi make the perfect pair, and despite their character differences, they both evolve as characters through their interactions with Paragon. The story is fast-paced and filled with tense moments as well as extremely focused and thoughtful moments. Bethell has a way with words that entreat the reader to forge a deep connection with the story. She writes for curious kids of all ages and challenges them to look beyond their own knowledge. This book will keep you on your toes and your brain thinking frantically. Readers will love to try and solve the hidden messages and cryptic clues alongside Auden and Vivi. It is a wonderful example of middle-grade science fiction, while still being refreshingly realistic. This is a great introduction to dystopian fiction that ends with an abundance of hope.