The Geomancer's Compass
by Melissa Hardy



Tundra Books, 2012. ISBN 978-1-770-49292-9.
Reviewed by Sharon Wildwind
Posted on 12/30/2012

Teen/Girls; Fiction: Mystery; Fiction: Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy

Miranda Lu's Canadian-Chinese family has nothing but bad luck. Every one of her relatives has died, developed a serious medical condition, or been in a life-changing accident. Miranda thinks she's gotten off with only a morbid fear of germs. Having scored both a place in a top-notch private high school and a summer internship with an augmented-reality software company, she sees clear sailing ahead to becoming a programmer.

When her great-great-grandfather dies Miranda inherits his geomancy compass, and according to her grandmother, a mission to save her family. Geomancy is an ancient Chinese science that involves balancing good and bad energies to keep bad spirits at bay. Her grandmother says that the Lu family is cursed because Miranda's great-great-great uncle was murdered, his bones stolen and buried without proper ceremony. Unless Miranda finds those bones and ensures they are reburied properly, more family members, including herself, will die.

Miranda is skeptical, but when a prophecy says that she, too, is marked for death, listening to her grandmother suddenly takes on a new urgency. The only problem is, she needs wheels and doesn't have a driver's license. But her cousin Brian does. Against Miranda's better judgment, she and Brian are going on a road trip to, of all places, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I throughly enjoyed this book. The story is fast-paced, the dialogue cheeky, and there are meaty undercurrents about computer-enhanced reality, prejudice, and the lives of Chinese-Canadians.

Read an excerpt from this book.


Melissa Hardy's first novel was published when she was seventeen years old. Since then she has won the Journey Prize for an excerpt from a short story collection and the Canadian Authors Association Jubilee Award for The Uncharted Heart (Knopf Canada). Her writing has appeared in many literary journals and has been twice anthologized in Best American Short Stories and the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. The Geomancer's Compass marks her debut as a YA author. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Visit her website.

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