Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Barry Jonsberg, Pandora Jones: Deception. Crows Nest, NSW Allen & Unwin, 2014, 275 pp.
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Bildungsromans (Coming-of-age fiction)
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Author of the Entry:
Gretta Yuide, University of New England (student), email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Nkemleke, Université Yaounde 1, email@example.com
, 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), firstname.lastname@example.org
Deception is a retelling of the Pandora myth, though it only becomes apparent at the end of the book. The story continues from where Book One (Admission) finished, with the students being returned to "The School," after their rescue mission. The students are full of questions: if they are the last remaining people alive, why were they sent outside for others to kill them? Why did they want to kill them if there are so few people left? Suspicious of "The School," Pandora again tries to escape with her new friend Jen. They go under the wall this time, and realise that life outside seems to be the same as it has always been; there is no sign of any pandemic. Shortly after, they are seen and then met by people wearing decontamination suits, who taser them and take them back to "The School," where Pandora is drugged with a truth serum and questioned about her suspicions, which now include the idea that all the students have had memories implanted. Pandora has also found out that her friend Nate, who was killed in the first book, is actually alive, though she is not sure whether he is a friend or part of the conspiracy. Still suspicious, Pandora and Jen decide that if they want answers they should break into the infirmary because that is the first place all students go to. Their first night-time attempt at breaking in sets off alarms and lights so they flee, but on their next, better-planned attempt, they discover the infirmary is hiding many secrets including a state of the art operating theatre, and a lift where no lift should be. While in the infirmary, Pandora has another psychic experience in which she inhabits someone else’s body and can see through their eyes, but she is not sure whose eyes she is seeing through. Yet again, Pandora and Jen decide to escape, Jen builds a dismountable hang glider and hides it, until one night when the weather conditions are optimal and they glide away. They land in the ocean and swim until they find a boat. They sail off in the boat until a storm hits them and wrecks the boat, so they have no choice but to let off flares. They are picked up by a large foreign container ship. Again, there seem to be no signs of a pandemic having occurred. Pandora finds the phone on boarding the ship and rings her mother who answers the phone before the call is disconnected. Very shortly after helicopters with SAS men attached to ropes appear above the container ship and Pandora and Jen are drugged and taken back to "The School." Pandora is finally told some truths: that her family is alive, and there was no pandemic, but that she has the virus, it being the first thing that was given to her when she arrived, and she has now infected others in the outside world.
Deception is the second book in the Pandora Jones Trilogy in which Barry Jonsberg uses classical myth to explore the adolescent condition. The main protagonist Pandora Jones is modelled on the mythological Pandora. The final paragraph of the book links the mythological Pandora and the book’s Pandora, when the Professor says "You really have lived up to your name, Pandora. In the entire history of the human race I don’t think any one individual has visited such destruction, such mischief on the world." Pandora is blamed for releasing the virus she was infected with on the rest of the world and actually starting a pandemic. She alone is held accountable for the viruses release because the Professor says Jen is “incapable” of taking responsibility for her actions. So, Pandora’s curiosity is the sole reason the virus is released into the world according to the Professor. Her prophetic gift, linking her to Cassandra, also develops further throughout the book, with her having different types of psychic experiences. Classical myth intersects with ideas of female power, knowledge, identity and self-discovery in Deception.