Zan’s not exactly a bad kid, but things haven’t been easy of late and it’s caused her to act out a bit. So her mom decides they could both do with a change. A blue voyage cruise in Turkey with Zan’s aunt is an opportunity to get away while offering support to the recently widowed Jackie.
Zan’s uncle was killed in an unfortunate hiking accident and, though there’s no evidence to suggest otherwise, it seems Jackie has become convinced it wasn’t an accident at all. Jackie was to accompany her husband on the cruise where he would lead a group on a tour of archaeological sites. Now the cruise is a chance for Jackie to officially say goodbye.
In spite of the fact that the area is under increased watch thanks to a boom in antiquities smuggling, Zan’s trip begins well enough. The small boat is tight, but the scenery is gorgeous and even Zan can’t resist the pull of the blue ocean and the ancient cliff walls. She even makes a friend in fellow traveler Sage. But Zan’s trip to paradise soon turns dangerous when she becomes entangled in the smuggling ring’s plans, forcing her to risk everything in order to save the people she loves most.
Blue Voyage is a teen mystery that’s actually quite perfect as a cross over for adults. Renn’s pacing and plotting are spot on. There are hints of the danger to come as we embark on the tale, but the main focus in the beginning is on setting the scene and giving the reader a chance to get to know Zan and her family.
The story moves from the cruise to Istanbul and eventually Cappadocia with Renn taking readers on a tour of their own through Turkey’s archaeological history. This history, it should be noted, is something Renn herself has taken great pains to portray as accurately as possible. And it’s this history paired with the current political tension and Zan’s own family drama that provides a tense framework for the story.
Between the exotic locale, the promise of a treasure hunt, and a possible underlying murder mystery to connect it all there’s not much more you can really ask for here. Blue Voyage comes together as a fabulously fun read for anyone looking for a great adventure.
11/15 Becky LeJeune
BLUE VOYAGE by Diana Renn. Viking Books for Young Readers (October 13, 2015). ISBN 978-0670015597. 464p.