1 May 2012

Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale

Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale
Release Date: July 1st 2008
Publisher: Random House
Add it: Goodreads
Overall:  1/2 - ♥ (ahh it's too hard) 

A few weeks ago, a bunch of friends and I were all having drinks at their house and one of the roommates got a new kitten so she was having a quiet night in! I had so much fun there (let’s be honest here, I always do) but me being me, I decided to have a random hour-long discussion with said roommate about nerdy things like the pros and cons of different computer operating systems, internet privacy and of course, BOOKS! This friend has just recently moved to Australia from New Zealand so when we got talking about what Australian authors that she MUST READ IMMEDIATELY (more like me randomly bringing the topic up and started fangirling) and I was curious about New Zealand authors. She told me her New Zealand author ever was Fleur Beale and her favourite book by said author was Juno of Taris! Juno of Taris was the ONLY book she bought with her when she moved to Australia (could you imagine, having to leave so many books behind… *cries*) and after telling me about it, she kindly lent it to me :) 

Now…  Juno of Taris is a dystopian young-adult novel and follows the story of an 11 year old girl named Juno who *shock*, lives on the island of Taris. Taris was the brainchild of the 21st century world and was created to survive the virus epidemic, wars and hatred of the 21st century, even if nobody else in the world did. Taris is completely isolated from the Outside, is protected by a dome and eventually resulted in a totalitarian cult-like society where it is a requirement to shave your hair. 

The story is absolutely brilliant, there were so many twists, turns and surprises that left my jaw hanging and left me in shock. The way Fleur Beale has weaved together the plot was incredible. What at first seemed to be a fairly neat, predictable plot soon grew into something much more complicated and action-packed than expected.  It was really refreshing to read because the plot was not only layered, it made me *think*. The society Juno lives in reminds me of a communist society. Everybody does the same things, works the same sorts of jobs, has to get selected for  ridiculous things like have a child and the “qualities” the chosen parents choose for their children all bare the same sort of resemblance. I loved how this topic was explored in addition to the regular dystopian government.

In addition to the story, the characters were wonderful. Juno was such a different heroine and it was interesting to see how much she grew (literally) throughout the novel. The novel starts with Juno at age 11 and ends with Juno aged 14! Now this sounds a little strange but considering it was a 350 page novel with 3 birthdays squeezed in, the pacing was ideal for this novel. The birthdays didn’t feel rushed or jammed together and neither did anything else, it all flowed together pretty nicely!

The only real issue I had with this (which is why I had such a difficult time rating this) was the writing. It’s hard to explain – the first 100-200 pages seemed to have writing that was sort of disjointed and it was in past tense which at first, I didn’t think suited the novel. It was all, “We did this, then they did this. Then this happened” BUT I do have a theory on this :)… You know how when a lot of younger kids tell a story to you they basically go along the lines of, “This happened, then this happened and then I did this…”? Well, because Juno was 11, I have a feeling the author (quite cleverly) did this intentionally because the older Juno got throughout the novel, the less disjointed the writing seemed and the past tense and writing in general was easier to read. So I don’t know (God, this is difficult to write)… I didn’t particularly love the writing at the beginning of the novel but I think she did this intentionally to connect us with Juno more!  So what I’m TRYING to say is that Fleur Beale is basically a sneaky genius.

This is definitely worth a read :) and I’ll definitely be reading more of Fleur Beale’s books in the future!


PS - Please excuse the dodgy cover photo... The one on Goodreads was too small and this one on Book Depository is just weird looking...


  1. This sounds AMAZING, Taneika! Hurray for recommendations!! It's kind of interesting we don't have it over here, or it hasn't gotten attention, no? Dystopian/fantasy = LOVE.

  2. This sounds really interesting. Reading your review makes me see how complicated this book is, well at least at rating it. I absolutely haven't heard of this book yet so I just added this to my TBR! Great review, Taneika! :)


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