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Kaida Hutchenson doesn’t like the dark, bats, rabies, or caves. She’s also not thrilled at the prospect of spending 14 hours in a van traveling to a class trip with two students with whom she has nothing in common. To Kaida, overachiever Zeke Anderson is “proof positive that a person can be too perfect.” She finds 14-year-old, cigarette-smoking loner Joy Tallon “pretty, but faded pretty, like her edges had been rubbed away.”

The only bright spot in the trip is Mr. Addison, one of Kaida’s favorite teachers, who is driving the van. As the hours stretch on, Kaida and the others fall asleep to pass the time. When they are jolted awake by a crash, the students scramble for safety. Terrified and surrounded by darkness and smoke, they flee the fire-engulfed van, not knowing if Mr. Addison has survived. 

Alone in the desert, with their cell phones burned up, the trio tries to come up with a rescue plan. While they consider their options, the desert winds turn fierce, and a torrential downpour forces them to seek shelter in a cave. As the rain cascades down harder and harder, they back up farther into darkness. When a light appears in the distance, they race towards it, believing they have found an exit. The light becomes blinding, and a deafening buzzing starts before they are plunged into an abyss.

Candia awakes in her bedroom, sore and disoriented. Her room seems the same, but her medicine is missing from the bathroom cabinet. Somehow, time has gone backwards. Her field trip is weeks away, yet memories about it, the fiery crash and the cave begin to surface. Confused and wanting answers, Kaida seeks out Zeke and Joy, who share memories of the trip and the accident. Somehow, the three students have stumbled into a parallel universe and must figure out a way to get back to the reality they knew before their trip.

New York Times bestselling mystery author Faye Kellerman has teamed up with her daughter, Aliza, to co-write a creative novel that stretches the imagination. In PRISM, three teenagers are trapped in a nightmarish alternate world, where medicine and health care do not exist and sick people are left to die. This is an interesting and thought-provoking book that should appeal to teens who like to ponder “What if?”

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on July 1, 2009

by Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman

  • Publication Date: June 29, 2010
  • Genres: Paranormal, Suspense
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0061687243
  • ISBN-13: 9780061687242