Reader: Veronica K.
Author: Eve Bunting
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub Date: 12/01/15
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I did not like this book. At all. My first major problem with this book was how the characters spoke. It felt like the author Googled "How do Scottish people talk?" and wrote based on what she found on answers dot whatever dot com. But it was only every three chapters or so. Every other chapter had characters that sounded British to me.
Another problem I had was the romance story. The first day she was in this town, she fell in love. This feels like what literally every new book known to man does. But my problem is the fact that Miss You-Must-Do-Everything-The-Proper-Way-Otherwise-I-Will-Die-Of-Shame fell in love with Mr. Rules?-Pshaw-Where's-The-Fun-In-That. The male in this pairing seems like the kind of person that Josie would look at and say, "Oh, he's handsome. But I mustn't behave like a silly little girl. What would Mrs. Chandler say about that? Oh, look at that behavior! That's horrible! I must never go near him again!" not take one look at him and fall in love.
Yet another issue in this book is how much it feels like a short story, not a novella. This story would have been way better if it had been condensed into 30-50 pages, not the 214 pages it was. That would have been enough time to explain the aunt and uncle's "business" and Josie's reaction to it. It wouldn't be so long that the ending made no sense for all that buildup.
Which brings us to my next issue. The ending. The book is building (I say building, I mean slowly climbing that little slope in a street that is there to let the water run off, until roughly 2/3 of the way through, when the slope jumps two feet, then continues on as previously) like it is going to be a serious historical fiction book. It has all (I mean one, sort of) the characters built as normal people for that time, and they are smart enough to figure something out. But then a whole bunch of pyromaniatical ghosts show up and kill everybody. Yep, that totally makes sense. This ending feels like the author was all, "Whoa, I have a brilliant idea! I'll have a girl catch some wreckers! It'll be great! <write write write> Wait-how am I supposed to end this thing? Um... I have a deadline... Um... Please come up with something... Aha!" and added a rushed ending for a different book.
All in all, this feels like a bad fan fiction. Of what, I'm not really sure, but that's what it feels like to me.
Memorable or Forgettable: What made this book memorable was the informational content. While the book itself was not very great, the whole idea of wreckers in 1807 was interesting. But other than that, it really wasn't that memorable. It's another female protagonist meets mysterious hot guy with a secret type story. I'm probably going to mix this one up with the last one I read, and these two will blend with the next one.
Cover: The cover is kind of boring. It only sort of reflects the contents of this book, and doesn't fit the title at all. I don't think very many people will pick this one up based on the cover.
Age Range: Under 12 through 13
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 2P - Only for special interest
tags: historical fiction / suspense / ya lit