By: David Metzenthen
Genre: YF - Children's / Teenage fiction & true stories
Published by: Ford Street Publishing
Published: 1 Mar 2022
ISBN: 9781925804966


Augustin is a poor boy who lives in a barn. Celine is a rich girl who lives in a mighty palace. Together they escape into the sky… Only to land in a world of terrible trouble and dangerous secrets!

During the most turbulent times of the French Revolution, two young heroes risk everything for each other, their Queen, and countries… a richly-imagined novel for younger readers based around twenty-four fascinating facts!

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David Metzenthen brings us a fabulous, historical story. With facts at the start of each chapter, it gives a true insight to life during this time.

Set just before the French Revolution, when the people of France were in crisis, and had no money to feed or house themselves, we follow the story of two children from very different worlds.

Augustin is a quiet, poor boy who tends to goats to help keep him alive. Celine is a talkative and confident girl from a world of privilege, and lives in The Royal Palace with Queen Marie-Antoinette. But these unlikely pairing find themselves on an adventure of a lifetime when they both stow away on the first hot air balloon that has just taken off.

They were both looking for adventure, but neither of them really factored in what they would do when the hot air balloon landed. And when it does, they find themselves in the lawless and dangerous countryside. They embark on a journey to try and make it to the palace, and Celine promises Augustin that if they make it back she will look after him forever, and will always be his friend. But Augustin is wary. Why would anyone like Celine want to help a poor boy like him?

Augustin and Celine know that the people are restless, and the Queen’s life of luxury might soon be under attack. Celine has a plan, but she needs the loyalty and help of Augustin to make it happen. But does Augustin really have it in him to carry out Celine’s wishes?

This is a wonderful novel about finding friendship and loyalty in the most unusual places. It is at times humorous and suspenseful, and both characters show ingenuity, intelligence, and empathy. It is a great read for all upper primary and junior secondary students.

Reviewed by Sam