Jenny Quinn is a young graduate student working towards an advanced degree in experimental physics. But an unfortunate accident in the lab leads to her professor's death in a subsequent fall and infects her body with what she is calling "dark matter". The trouble is that the quantity of dark matter is increasing at an exponential rate and it is causing Jenny to float uncontrollably.
A premise like this might have been interesting if it was approached a little more sensibly and kept under control. But, sadly, PIXIE DUST is little more than a nonsensical collection of cutting edge physics concepts randomly tossed into a blender with no consideration given to common sense or reality - dark matter repels real matter (but somehow the atoms in Jenny Quinn's body manage to maintain their integrity); the quantity of dark matter increases in time with no apparent reason (but somehow Jenny manages to maintain her girlish figure and doesn't weigh any more even when gravity is behaving normally!); magnetic fields applied to the dark matter create a negative gravity field that allows Jenny to float; in the presence of the dark matter, electric current can be used to induce a magnetic field but there is no apparent draw in power (can anyone say perpetual motion?) ... the list of pseudo-scientific babbling is really quite appalling!
Somewhere around page 60, the book, which already held little of my interest, also lost any remaining credibility when Jenny began to search back issues of comic books for ideas to create a super-hero costume. Oh my!
Give me a break, Mr Melton. With so much stellar young adult fiction around, I can't imagine giving this to teenage readers and expecting them to be intelligently entertained any more than I was.
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About the reviewer
Paul Weiss (cpw1952)
A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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Jenny Quinn's life was on course for her advanced physics degree until a lab experiment in vacuum decay turned her life upside down. With career hopes destroyed and her professor dead in an unexplained fall, she is forced to cope with a strange change in her own body. With nothing but her own resources, a childhood infatuation with old comic books may be her only guide to help solve the twin mysteries of cutting edge physics and the murder of her professor, before one or the other puzzle gets her killed.
Henry Melton, award winning author of the YA adventures Emperor Dad and Lighter Than Air, takes us on an adventure with a slightly older heroine, even if she is just four foot ten and everyone calls her Tinkerbell.