Never try to open the locked doors. Never question what you are told. And never attempt to cross the Boundary.
Kept inside an eerie estate for their entire lives, Penny and her five friends have had no contact with the outside world, with their only windows being a handful of books, a sinister master and a secretive housekeeper.
Fed up of living a mystery, Penny begins breaking all the rules and finally tries to escape; but what she uncovers is far more devastating than she could have imagined. It rapidly becomes a deadly struggle for the truth in a world where nothing is what it seems, and friendship can be either your greatest weapon...or your biggest liability.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Boundary by Mary Victoria Johnson had me hooked from the very start. I can't wait for the next book to come out. The characters were interesting and so was the plot. This is a must read for all great storytelling. ~ Angela Borgo, Librarian at Whiting Public Library
This was one of the greatest books I've read all year long. Penny and her friends that she grew up with in the house under the care of Beutrix, and The Master was a plot that I could not put down. I read this book in a few hours today. I didn't even want to stop for restroom breaks!! The challenge put upon Penny and the others was a wonderfully imaginative storyline. Fantasy to the fullest! I don't want to give the story away for anyone who should want to read it but I must say the ending was a twist I did not expect. I can't wait to read the next book in this series!! Great Read.... ~ Erin Ballinger, NetGalley
First of all, the cover is perfect! It made me want to read this book.
The story was very original, I have never really read something like this.
Very well written, I read it in like two days, couldnt put it down! And with me that's a good thing because I usually take my time with books. Thankyou for giving met the opportunity to read this amazing book, I really enjoyed it! ~ Eva Rian VR, NetGalley
This is the first book in (what will eventually become) a trilogy. The tone of this novel is very dark and dreary and suits the atmosphere of the novel very well. The author made the children very believable characters who were all very easy to empathize and connect with on many different levels. The story moved forward at a decent pace and kept my interested in the plot from beginning to end.
One of the most appealing aspects of this novel for me was the setting. I am a huge fan of Victorian novels and love to be immersed in the period in any way possible. I feel that this novel will leave readers wanting more and I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment in this series and cannot wait when it comes out later next year. ~ Sarah K, NetGalley
A must read! This book was extremely well written, when you realize that Mary wrote this when she was 14, WOW! It was very much a page-turner, wanting to find out more about the Boundary and the Master. Leaving you with suspense and wanting more details on how the children came to be there in the first place. Looking forward to Book 2. ~ Melanie Laing , NetGalley
Oh wow, this was a surprise! What a fantastic concept - 6 teenagers mysteriously being raised by a cruel and barely / non- human master, in a mansion totally segregated from the rest of the world.
Penny is inquisitive, questioning and has many dreams of other people and wonders what exactly is beyond the boundary of the mansion. Her questions cause her to break some of the rules, and put in motion a test for them all.
I really want to read what happens next.... ~ Anne Flanagan , NetGalley
I have a very short attention span and this book had me hooked almost instantly. I loved the voices of the characters and the creativity of the story ~ Natasha Brandon , NetGalley
While this doesn't have the most sophisticated prose, te plot is unusual and engaging with the sort creepiness you'd expect from a gothic novel and the emotional conflict and questioning found in the best dystopian novels. The characters were sufficiently well developed and the 'master' was epically disturbing. This book was a pleasant surprise for me. I look forward to seeing how things develop in book 2.
~ Jules Ironside , NetGalley
This was a great start to what I hope will be an exciting series. Filled with mystery and magic, it's a great book to curl up with on a rainy day. The cast ensemble is wonderful, which each one worming their way into your heart at some point. I actually read this a year ago already and was glad to read it again. Not to mention I've been waiting for the sequel so I can find out what happens. ~ Leah Tesch, NetGalley
A must read! This book was extremely well written, when your realise that Mary wrote this when she was 14, WOW! It was very much a page turner, wanting to find out more about the Boundary and the Master. Leaving you with suspense and wanting more details on how the children came to be there in the first place. Looking forward to Book 2. ~ Karon Hughes , Amazon.ca
I am a girl going into 6 grade and I would recommend this book. I love how Penny and all the characters are fully fleshed out, everyone had a backstory, personality, and own unique methods and emotions during the trials. There's always some mystery or very surprising and intense plot twist throughout the whole book. Something is always happening and you can never trust anyone. Penny is a girl who desperately wants freedom, but she isn't able get it easily. It is a captivating story about selfishness, betrayal and that everything good comes at a price. ~ JPBerg11, Amazon.com
To an outside observer, Penny and her five friends live a life of luxury. They have everything they need provided for them, they live in a mansion, and they can do almost whatever they want within the boundary of that space. But it’s that boundary that makes Penny question everything around her. Touching the invisible wall surrounding the property will fry someone to a crisp, and Penny and her friends are essentially being held hostage inside it. They’re not exactly being held against their will, at least not until Penny begins questioning how they got there and why they can’t leave.
Penny’s curiosity not only angers their already sinister master, but it also begins a series of trials that pit friend against friend because the winner will get to leave the boundary. Alliances are formed and help is provided from unexpected sources, but not everything is as it seems. As the trials become more and more dangerous, it will be every man for him or herself.
Boundary is book one of the young adult The Other Horizons Trilogy, and although it is a standalone book, it does set the stage for the next book in the series. It is full of action and adventure, mystery, and fantasy, as well as being historical. This made for quite an interesting combination.
Although the story felt slow-moving at first, there was always the feeling that something more was under the surface. I immediately wanted to read on to find out why Penny and her friends were not able to leave the boundary. Even the somewhat mundane parts showing everyday life at the manor kept me involved and turning pages. The author did a good job of including small details that played into the plot in a larger way. ~ Rachel, Rach Lawrence Reviews
Finally, a YA novel that isn't cliched! None of the usual irritating love triangles, corrupt governments and super hot sixteen year olds that you normally see in YA novels these days - instead, BOUNDARY is full of shocking plot twists, realistic characters and vividly imagined scenery. This novel's characters are so deeply portrayed that I often forget they aren't real people, and even more often I wish that they were. Penny, Fred, Lucas, Evelyn, Tressa and Avery are some of my favorite book characters, counting every book I've ever read (which is a lot). MARY VICTORIA JOHNSON is truly one of the best authors to have come around in a long time, and I can't wait for the next OTHER HORIZONS novel to come out. ~ Annabel , Goodreads
Boundary is a historical fantasy based novel filled with adventure, plot twists and incredibly thought out literacy techniques which are sure to keep the readers attention.
I couldn't put the book down! Mary has done a brilliant job in her unique creation. I honestly can not wait for the next of the trilogy to come out!
I'd say Boundary is more of a teen read but I also know some teachers who have read, loved and recommended Boundary to others.
Definitely worth a read.
P.s be sure to keep a box of tissues near by. This book will definitely test your emotions. ~ J Newlands, Amazon UK
Never try to open the locked doors. Never question what you are told. And never attempt to cross the Boundary. Kept inside an eerie estate for their entire lives, Penny and her five friends have had no contact with the outside world, with their only windows being a handful of books, a sinister master and a secretive housekeeper. Fed up of living a mystery, Penny begins breaking all the rules and finally tries to escape; but what she uncovers is far more devastating than she could have imagined. It rapidly becomes a deadly struggle for the truth in a world where nothing is what it seems, and friendship can be either your greatest weapon...or your biggest liability. A riveting novel from beginning to end, it is particularly interesting to note that the author, Mary Victoria Johnson, wrote "Boundary" when she was fourteen, and realized her dream of seeing it published three years later. A fascinating story with cross-generational appeal, Boundary is very highly recommended for community library General Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Boundary" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.49). ~ The Fiction Shelf, Midwest Book Review
Penny is a 15-year-old girl trapped in an exquisite, mysterious Victorian estate full of deceit and lies. Along with her five friends, Penny has never ventured across the Boundary and outside into the physical world. They were taught never to question the commands of authorities, including the malevolent Master Madon. As he instills fear into the household, Penny wishes to explore what's beyond the Boundary. Unlike her friends, she wishes for freedom. As the covert housekeeper suggests possible escape plans, the teen is adamant to break free from her enigmatic, sheltered life. What she uncovers as she crosses over the Boundary is a Pandora's box of twisting alternate worlds that will keep readers guessing until the very end. Nightmares, realistic dreams, plague-type sicknesses that have never happened before all unravel before their very eyes. Can Penny create a rip in the Boundary? An original, compelling tale in which characters convey extraordinary motivations and personalities. Fans of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time will embrace this adventurous tale of trustworthiness and loyalty among friends. ~ Krista Welz, School Library Journal
*5 Stars* This is an interesting, captivating read. The twists and different plots keep me on my toes and I could not put the book down till I finished it. Roll on book two and continuing the story. A all round well written book . ~ Amazon Reviewer, Amazon.ca
Boundary: Book One of The Other Horizons Trilogy by Mary Victoria Johnson is a tale of a group of children being raised in an old English manor in a forest. They have no contact with the outside world, and for fifteen years they see and know only two people. First and foremost is the Master, Madon, a cruel and dark man with magical powers whose only purpose seems to be to mete out punishments. The other person to inhabit their strange little world is Beatrix, a prim woman of around sixty who acts as governess, housekeeper, and cook. Beatrix has taken care of the children all their lives and, while not as mean as the master, it’s obvious she can’t really afford to be kind to the children either. The story is told from the point of view of Penny, a rebellious spirit who yearns to be free and learn what the outside world is like.
The tone of Boundary is dark and almost Gothic. There is nothing as depressing as imprisoned children yearning to be free. Mary Victoria Johnson slowly introduces us to the children, their keepers, and their small narrow little world. I began to want Penny to unite the children and somehow escape, and I think most readers will feel the same. The kids are adorable and I quickly empathized with them and their plight. The story moves forward step by step and good writing kept me enthralled up to the very end. I enjoyed Boundary and I think many other readers will enjoy it too. I want to know what lies ahead for these children and look forward to reading the next book in the series ~ Ray Simmons, Readers' Favorite
The five teenagers in this fantasy novel lead a very ordered, uncomplicated, limited existence in a beautiful manor. The story is set in Victorian times, which is reflected in the innocence of the teenager’s ways and the acceptance of their life style. Inside the manor, the powerful master joins them at dinner time only, and has extreme punishments for those who question him. The kindly house keeper provides for the needs of the young ones, and shows regard for them.
It becomes evident that playing hide and seeks, or croquet everyday has lost its novelty. Penny, in particular becomes restless and even though Tressa is the leader of the group, Penny finds herself dissatisfied and questioning. Penny wants to know why the Manor grounds are surrounded by a “Boundary” which no one can pass, and why they can’t pass it.
Also the children have had lessons in the Library since they were small, and gradually books have begun to disappear, books which may have held answers to their questions. Penny has begun to have strange dreams which are repeated and somehow familiar.
At fifteen years of age, Penny is not prepared to accept these mysteries, and confides in their housekeeper/ carer; Beatrix who realises Penny will no longer conform to the rules, and gives her a key to a secret room. The other teenagers Tressa, Avery, Fred and Evelyn, are totally unaware of what Penny is doing as she explores the secret room, discovering a machine with a lever.
Once Penny pulls the lever, everything changes. There are tests to be passed clues to guess at, secret letters and the unexplained death of their only friend Beatrix. There is tension and anger between the group until they realise maintaining their friendship is one of the tests. They will need to be loyal to each other, but this becomes harder when they realise that not all of them will escape.
For teenagers and older readers who love fantasy, this is an original and interesting idea. Book one has set the scene for the escapee who has landed in the modern world and has to come to terms with….Everything. ~ Trish Palmer, Bluewolf Reviews
Captivating atmospheric novel with twists and turns!
Aimed at young adults, the story follows a group of six teenagers growing up in a strange mansion surrounded by an impenetrable 'boundary'. The other main characters are Beatrix - a kindly teacher/cook/healer and Madon - the cruel enigmatic master of the house.
It has elements of Harry Potter, Hunger Games or the film The Village, while managing to create it's own unique supernatural Victorian era atmosphere and captivating story with twists and turns.
My young adult days are far behind me, but I still enjoyed the book. The story is certainly very gripping and suspenseful. It also leaves quite a few unanswered questions, which make you want to go on and read the next two books in the trilogy when they come out. ~ Andrew Cairns, Author of 'The Witch's List'
An intriguing premise and a well executed plot. 6 young adults, living in a closed world on an estate with a "boundary". Madon, a cruel and violent keeper of the house, and Beatrix, the servant/teacher with a heart. The young adults are of an age where they are questioning and rebelling against what has always been their surroundings and Beatrix has unwittingly pushed this questioning by allowing the teens access to the library, where books educate the teens about a world "outside".
There are odd moments in this book, but it is unendingly intriguing and you are pulled along, hoping for the characters safe escape, but are left at the end of the book wanting the next in the trilogy to open up and continue your journey. ~ Maria Watson, Amazon.com
I don't normally read novels aimed at the young adult market, but this is a really interesting premise - well written and keeps the reader on edge throughout. Penny's journey from dissatisfaction to questioning the 'boundary' to full on rebellion is compelling - as is her relationship with her friends. Nicely set up for the sequel, also. A lovely, supernatural Victorian thriller. ~ Nigel Cooper, Author of 'Beat the Rain'
A captivating read, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished. I can’t wait for the sequel! *(Book of the Week)*
~ Professor Owl's Book Corner
5/5 Stars This was an oddly intriguing book. I loved the level of details and the plot twists. It kind of reminds me of the move "The village"... Eagerly moving on to the second one. ~ Felicia Allen, NetGalley
You will get so "antsy" while reading this book, yet you will not be able to put it down for long!
This is about six young men and women raised on a large estate but never allowed to go outside the boundaries. Life is good and predicable until HE comes home.
Ms. Beatrix is cook, nanny, housekeeper, and everything to them. They are now fifteen years of age – do any of them really know when their birthday is? - and penny is discontent. She wants more!
When this is demanded of Beatrix all their literature disappears in one swish! Thus begins the doubt and betrayal of all the children. What follows are eerie, dreams, visions, contentions and survival!
This is a very well thought out plot. The characters are mostly endearing , except for the villains and they are very real as well. The title would have been more effective if slightly worded differently. The book cover is good but – then again – would be better if a little more color was added to make it more appealing to the “browser”.
The action, suspense and intrigue were outstanding and kept one in suspense until the very end! What could have easily been a stand alone was cleverly led into another sequel.
This is like no other book I have read before. It crosses many genres. It would be good for middle school but not for younger than twelve years of age, due to the terrors
*I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review, of which I have given. ~ Lu Ann Worley, Rockin' Book Reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It was very original, and chock full of twists I never saw coming. The characters were all different, with intense motivations and personalities, and as a teen myself, I could relate to all of them. It was well written, with lots of humour, and a novel I'd read again and again! When is the next one coming out?? ~ AJ Lily, age 15
Imagine living within the parameters of an estate not able to roam freely, your thoughts and actions monitored and your ability to explore the world forbidden. Opening locked doors yields punishments. Questioning the actions of others and disobeying the rules is unheard of. Never try to cross the Boundary or leave and never dare not follow what you have been told.
Imagine living in a world where books are at a minimum and what is inside will entice you to want to learn more, to see the world outside though you cannot. Five young teens live in this world without any contact with anyone else. Penny is the main character who is outspoken, caring, loyal. Her primary goal is to learn more about finding freedom and break free of The Boundary. But this border, whether real, imaginary or made of iron, exists in more than one way. The boundaries set by the master and his housekeeper help keep these six teens on point, never daring to falter and never daring to question why they are there. The master is cruel, secretive and you wonder just how these teens got here, why they are here, how they get their food and the lessons that they are taught which limit their knowledge and understanding of any world except the one created for them by the Master.
Bent up and tired of living within the world set out for them Penny decides to explore, question and find out more about a room at the top of the stairs, how to open it, and get past the boundary... but what happens will uncover terrors that no one would expect as she and her friends learn what happens when a hidden truth comes out. Loyalties among the friends become frayed as Tessa, the strong-minded and leader, and Avery, her counterpart seem angry, vigilant and determined to break free of the hold of the others. Lucas, Avery, Evelyn, so fragile, and Penny learn what happens when sides are taken, and hate rears its ugly head. Nightmares, dreams that seem real, sicknesses that never happened before and the fear that someone else just might be next...But who?
Penny then receives a note from someone who is between realms and is able to communicate with her what she needs to do in order to survive and break free. But, Penny is loyal to her friends although their actions become questionable, so will she do as the writer of the letter says and distance herself from the others?
Each page keeps readers glued and wondering just what will happen next as friends are pitted against each other, and danger lurks in the air. Just how powerful is their friendship? Mary Victoria Johnson wrote this novel at the age of 14 and her talent far surpasses someone that age.
The story becomes more complex as the teens realize that something has changed within each one of them and Penny learns the consequences of her actions. But, trying to hide them from the Master is not an option. Penny realizes that he is afraid of the sender but why? Who is really behind what is happening? Who can be trusted and will they ever be free? Do not disobey the rules. Do not try and cross over the boundary. Do not dare to question anything. Freedom at what cost?
Teens can learn lessons in understanding, differences, tolerance, cooperation and trust just from reading this novel. Getting to know Tressa, Avery, Lucas, Fred, Evelyn and Penny will allow teens to understand the six unique and different and distinct personalities. Take their virtues of kindness, caring, love, friendship, trust, understanding, inquisitiveness and strike that all away. Dream or reality? When things start to change, the truth comes out and the end result you just won’t believe!
Enter the Manor at your own risk. Find your way to the edge of the boundary. Decide if you would have the courage to pull the lever to freedom. Decide where your loyalties lie.
Friendships are no longer in play. Deceits run high. How far will you go to escape the confinement? What is beyond it? How will Penny find freedom? ……Find out when you read this outstanding novel written by a young teen at age 14. What would you do if you were Penny? What would you do if you knew that everyone knew the truth and it was hidden from you? A legend that might be true or false! A Manor that is haunted, tainted and filled with deceit, hate, lies and uncertainty. A great book for discussion groups to talk about how they would handle some of the situations that each character faces in this novel. Which character is the strongest? Boundary: This one has no limits! ~ Fran Lewis, Just reviews/MJ magazine
A captivating read that had me clamouring for more. Excellently written and hard to put down! I can't wait for the second book of this trilogy. ~ Amazon Reviewer, Amazon.ca
So out of the gate I expected Penny and the gang to be stereotypical "nice" kids who sooner or later will overcome the clearly not-so-nice Madon. This is not how it works with this book at all. Characters develop much more depth as the book unfolds and each of them displays behaviors that are much more complex than just good and bad. If I say more I will spoil it. I like the pace of the book, it really does keep moving. I also liked that each segment of the book leaves you on a cliff hangar which drives you to read one more chapter.The setting for the book is magnificently described by Mary and throughout the book I can always picture the Manor; which can at times be beautiful and at other times sinister. It is historical fiction, but with a twist of the super-natural (I wouldn't go as far as to say fantasy). Thankfully its a Vampire-free environment and the kids don't overcome a corrupt government! The book delivers on many levels and the fact that it is hard to talk about the plot without "spoilers" is testament to the strength of the story; it twists and turns.So overall? It really is an excellent book. I had a pre-release version that had a few print errors, but it didn't really detract.This is Book 1 of a Trilogy, so leaves you with a few questions that you can guess will get answered in the remaining books; I can't wait to read them ! ~ Two Bikes, Goodreads
...The characters were very well fleshed out, as was the setting, and right away you get sucked into this dreamy yet undeniably creepy world. Meeting Madon, the bad guy, for the first time was a bit underwhelming. I thought, yeah, here we have another psycho-in-black type baddie who these kids will vanquish in the end. But as the story progresses, getting darker all the while, I started to wonder if I'd been tricked...It's not so black-and-white who's on which side after all.
That was what I loved most about this story. A lot of the sub plots seemed super clichéd and predictable, until the author threw a twist in and completely shook things up...By the end I was in love! (Full review contains spoilers) ~ Cricket, Goodreads
Boundary is the fantastic story of Penny, a fifteen-year old girl and her five teenage friends trapped in a beautiful Victorian-era world. If it weren’t for evil Master Madon who keeps everyone in fear and Penny’s urge to find out what’s beyond the boundary, she’d be just fine. But unlike her friends, Penny wants freedom and when the housekeeper offers a possible way of escape, Penny doesn’t think twice. But nothing is as it seems and Penny sets in motion a string of events that endangers everything she holds dear, including her friends. Boundary is a thoroughly engrossing tale of alternate worlds that keeps you guessing till the end. ~ Annette Oppenlander, author of Escape From the Past
...a gripping story of captivity, friendship and betrayal. ~ Alex Woolf, author of Soul Shadows
Boundary is a magical adventure I didn't want to put down! Full of mysterious twists and turns, with a cast of teenagers who capture you within their strange, emotional world. Sometimes scary, sometimes funny and often thrilling, this story kept me guessing the whole time and I can't wait for the next one from Mary Johnson! ~ Nicole Leigh West, author of the Gypsy Trail