Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Barry Jonsberg, Pandora Jones: Admission. Crows Nest, NSW Allen & Unwin, 2014, 303 pp.
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Bildungsromans (Coming-of-age fiction)
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Author of the Entry:
Gretta Yuide, University of New England (student), firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, email@example.com
Daniel Nkemleke, Université Yaounde 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
, b. 1951
Barry Jonsberg was born in Liverpool, England. He moved to Australia in 1999 and became an Australian citizen in 2007. He has a B.A. Hons in English Literature and a Master of Philosophy in English Literature from Liverpool University. He was a lecturer in English in the UK and a high school teacher in Darwin, Australia where he now lives with his wife, and two children. He started writing when he moved to Darwin in 2001. Jonsberg still teaches occasionally, but now prefers to write fulltime.
He has completed nine books for young adults and three books for younger readers. He writes across a variety of genres including comedy, detective fiction and young adult dystopian fiction. His book My Life as an Alphabet was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award in 2014. It also won the Children’s Peace Prize, the Gold Inky, the Victorian Premier’s award for YA fiction and was shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival award. Likewise, his book Being Here was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2012 and won the Queensland Premier’s Literary award for YA fiction. The Whole Business with Kiffo and the Pitbull and It's Not All About YOU, Calma! were short-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year, Older Readers, awards. It's Not All About YOU, Calma! also won the Adelaide Festival Award for Children's Literature, Dreamrider was short-listed in the New South Wales Premier's Awards for the Ethel Turner prize and Cassie (Girlfriend Fiction) was short-listed for the Children's Peace Literature Award 2009.
His books have been published in the USA, France, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, and China. His book Am I right or am I right? was published in the USA; The Crimes and Punishment of Miss Payne has been translated into Chinese, Hungarian, German and Polish. The Dog that Dumped on my Doona was translated into German; Cassie was translated in German and Turkish, It’s not all about you Calma! has been translated in Polish, German and French, and My Life as an alphabet has been translated in French and German.
Official website (accessed: July 2, 2018).
Bio prepared by Gretta Yuide, University of New England (student), email@example.com
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
Next book: Pandora Jones (Series, Book 2): Deception.
According to the Prologue, in Admission, "it took slightly under eight hours for Melbourne to die." Pandora Jones awakens in an infirmary with hazy recollections of how she came to be there. She has horrific visions and dreams of her family and everyone else around her dying. The "Doctor" informs her that she is one of the lucky survivors of a pandemic that has almost wiped out humanity. There are only a few surviving "arks" left around the world and she is in one of them, they have limited food and other resources. The "ark" turns out to be "The School" which is a quarantined facility cut off from the world by water and high walls, the students are told that beyond the walls there is EVIL. As soon as Pandora is well enough to leave the infirmary, she is placed with a group of other students who are new to "The School." They are given a class timetable and told that they have free time to work on their own individual gifts. Pandora’s individual gift is intuition: she is good at finding things. The other children laugh at her gift, but after she finds a watch that was hidden by one of the students, she gets a strange summons by the doctor of the infirmary. He wants to work with her on developing her gift, so she starts visiting the infirmary while the "Doctor" tests her. All the students deny having told the doctor about the watch being found by Pandora. This and other goings-on make Pandora suspicious of "The School," so she and her friend, Nate, decide to scale the walls one night. Only they are captured, drugged and returned to "The School" as soon as they get over the wall. Trying to piece together what is going on through fragments of memories, nightmares and conversations with other students only makes Pandora more suspicious. Another student, Cara, mysteriously goes missing so Pandora is asked if she can use her gift to find her. She tries clearing her head to concentrate and finds that her gift has transformed. She is now able to channel birds, and using this ability she flies over "The School" and locates the missing student high on a mountain. When the teacher and the students climb up to her they find that she is dead. It is a mystery how she managed to climb the mountain in the dark with no climbing equipment and why she sat in the cold to die. The next night Pandora and her group are awoken and taken out on a boat to dispose of the body. Then they are told that they have a mission in which there have been sightings of other possible survivors and they are being dropped off to explore, locate and rescue. They have exactly seventy hours for their mission and then the boat will return. If they miss the boat they will be left behind. Pandora has a premonition that one student will be left behind. They do locate survivors but the survivors spend the next seventy-two hours trying to kill them. Pandora and all bar one student make it back to the boat, after killing two of the people trying to kill them. Nate is killed and left on the island. On the boat ride back, Pandora is even more convinced that "The School" is a big lie.
Admission is the first book in the Pandora Jones Trilogy in which Barry Jonsberg uses classical myth to explore the adolescent condition. The main protagonist Pandora, who is also called Pan for short, awakens in a post-pandemic world to find herself in "The School" which is walled off from the rest of the world. Admission uses ideas of Pandora’s curiosity about "The School" to propel the narrative along. Classical mythology is directly referred to in the book. On asking her name the "Doctor" comments, "Pandora-a classical name. The bringer of mischief into the world. I only hope you don’t bring much mischief into this world. Can I call you Pan for short?" Pan later replies, "Hope. Pandora brought mischief ,and evil into the world but she also brought hope." These qualities define Pandora throughout the book. Pandora seeks ways to try to find out what is happening at "The School" and to work out who she can trust; however, in the face of dreams and memories, she is finding more and more to distrust. Pandora is also representative of Cassandra known for her prophetic gifts, Pandora’s psychic gift develops throughout the book as she begins to have premonitions into the future as well as being able to find things in the past. The world around "The School" is unknown, apart from the early reference to Melbourne and two of the other eight students coming from Australia, there is no way of knowing where "The School" is situated geographically. It is just situated in a vague dystopic future which adds to the mystery while Pandora comes to terms with the past and its relation to the present and how she came to be in "The School." In Admission, therefore, classical myth intersects with ideas of female power, knowledge, identity and self-discovery, all key elements of young adult fiction, which sit within the dystopian novel.