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Aftershocks by William Lavender

I have a confession to make. I haven't been reading very much this past week. You see, I've been house-sitting for a family with a really big, flat-screen TV and a DVR... and for someone as television-deprived as I am, this is a huge distraction. But luckily for you all, I do have a backlog of books that I need to review.

In the January edition of The Edge of the Forest , MotherReader published a very interesting annotated book list: "Twentieth Century YA Style" where she lists one YA historical novel for each decade of the twentieth century. I loved the idea, and had this grand plan to read all of the ones that she had listed*. So, I started with Aftershocks -- a novel about the San Francisco Earthquake of 1908.

Jessie Wainwright, daughter of a well-respected physician, dreams of one day becoming a doctor herself,** but then, she discovers a horrible secret that could tear her family apart. With the 1908 earthquake as a backdrop -- Jessie sets out to make things right. (And that's as much as I can tell you without giving anything important away).

I love a good juicy historical novel -- and this one had so much rich, historical detail, especially in the descriptions of the Chinese immigrants and their suffering during and after the earthquake -- which was something I knew nothing about. (I know I've read other novels about the San Francisco quake, and I don't recall even any mentions of the Chinese).

There is a bit of romance -- especially towards the end of the novel (I mention this because it would have been a major selling point for me as a teen reader), and I'll admit to a bit of sniffling during a few touching scenes.*** I would highly recommend this to fans of the Sunfire books (Do teens even read those any more?)

*I haven't gotten very far... other books keep getting in the way... darn books.

**Oddly, I read this about a week after reading The Foreshadowing -- another historical novel about a girl wanting to go into medicine while her family disapproves.

*** Also a major selling point -- you should have seen me reading The Extraordinary Adventures of Edward Tulane. I was curled up in a little ball, sobbing and holding onto Snoopy. (I still don't understand what everyone has against this book, but oh well).


Jackie said...

I really liked Aftershocks, too.

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