Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I heard about this book a while ago, and have meant to grab a copy for a while.  I don't know what took me so long (I know, a month after publication. Slacker.).  The premise sounded fabulous - based on the true story of a dead prostitute's frozen body found propped up at city hall when suffrage was in it's height, Casanova chose to tell the story through a fictional 16 year old daughter. The basic premise is that 16 year old Sadie Rose lost the ability to speak after her mother died 11 years ago.  She was taken in by a senator, and Sadie feels pressure to be who they want her to be, even if she isn't quite sure who she is. When she finds pictures of her mother, it unlocks memories and helps her find her voice.  That's as much summary as you get, because other better people write other better summaries.

The thing about this book is that I found it... pensive. That's almost the right word, but maybe quiet works better? It's not an action packed book, full of adventure and unpredictability, it's a coming of age story that more slowly takes you on a journey. But that's also not right because that makes the book sound boring, and it isn't. Casanova does a great job with the historical setting and the resulting social details - Google tells me Casanova wrote for American girls and I find that not at all surprising. Clearly historical fiction is an area she enjoys writing about.  Frankly, that's one of the problems - I wonder if Casanova is writing a touch out of her comfort zone in terms of age bracket, because the plot at times is a bit awkward, and some of the secondary characters are a little too shallow. That being said, Sadie Rose is a great character, pitched pretty spot on to her 13-17 age range (though I admittedly would lean more to 12-15 age range for recommendations, personally).

Casanova is generally a fantastic writer - the book is beautifully written and the premise is solid. I liked this book, I just didn't love it. But that's not a bad thing, because I will 100% suggest this book to some of the teens at my library. I think younger readers will find something very appealing about Sadie's rather rapid transformation - the identifiable nature of feeling the need to figure out who you are.  All this being said, it was a quick read and an enjoyable one.

*** Review is based on an advance copy from NetGalley. Blah Blah this didn't affect my review. Promise.

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