This adventure’s got thrills and girl power


The Adventures of Anna Atom by Elizabeth Wasserman


240 pages

R189 at (softcover)


Anna Atom lives on a tropical island called Monpiet in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Her father is stuck in space, in what is known as the Space Ark, where he looks after pairs of the most endangered animals on earth. He cannot come back because he had an accident with a molecular displacement ray and Earth’s gravity will kill him.

Her mother, Sabina Atom, constantly works away in her subterranean laboratory with the Environmentor, a device that frequently provides her with updates and statistics about the state of the world’s ecosystems.

Sabina works for an organisation called United Surveillance and relies on her trusty supercomputer named Max. But of course, even with Max, a job like the one she has demands all her attention, and she has little time for her 12-year-old daughter. I can relate!

Because of this, Sabina has hired a man, who goes by the name of Ton, to look after Anna and her younger brother, Pip. Ton has many dark, untold secrets – along with a delicious coconut cookie recipe.

A chance encounter Anna has with a hammerhead shark – which she comes across while swimming in the ocean after school – sets off a chain of events, culminating in a terrifying encounter with the mad and devious doctor, Uranus Drake.

Can Anna save the world’s human population in time? The only way to find out is to read this book. After reading it, I also wanted to live on a tropical island because it sounded so adventurous and full of fun.

My favourite character is sweet little Pip, Anna’s biotron brother. I also enjoyed the plot twist about Ton, the nanny hired to look after the siblings – it turns out that he is Sibelius Stropplebaum, one of the most wanted men in South America.

Max, the supercomputer, is a genius, but his grammar is awful. This provided me with quite a few laughs.

But my favourite part of the book was when Anna accidentally turned her bionic dog, Mutt, invisible by using his instruction manual for the directions.

I love how the author, Elizabeth Wasserman, mixes science, fantasy and fiction into something riveting.

Wasserman, who comes from Klersdorp in the Free State, wanted to become a writer when she was little, but ended up studying medicine at Free State University and later studied medical microbiology at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape. She is very interested, her blog says, in science and nature.

She also wrote the Dogtective series, featuring a dog called William – named after her own dog.

Besides her writing career, Wasserman works as a pathologist and is an extraordinary professor in medical microbiology at Stellenbosch University.

This book gets the thumbs-up. I recommend it to children between the ages of 10 and 14. The plot is exciting, with lots of fun and mystery.

Well done, Ms Wasserman. You have left me thrilled once again. I hope to see more from you soon.

- Saffiyya Gules is 12 years old


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