By: Suzanne Weyn
My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Genre: Historical science fiction???
Page Count: 330
Synopsis: The destinies of five sisters all converge on board the Titanic.
Daughters of a famed clairvoyant, the five Taylor sisters have moved to turn-of-the-twentieth-century Spirit Vale, where their mother makes a living talking to the dead. The future, however, is something even she cannot see clearly.
The sisters are not meant to stay in Spirit Vale for long. All seem poised to move in different directions–science, society, fame, even the spirit world–but all of their destinies converge on board the Titanic. A transatlantic voyage that promises great wonders soon turns into a fight for survival that not everyone will win…or can they?
This review will be spoiler free.
Today’s review is going to be a little bit different than my usual reviews. Firstly, this is not a book I recently read, in fact it is one I read for the first time about ten years ago! And secondly, it is a book I have read many. many times. I found this book at a Scholastic Book Fair… Do you remember those? they would take over your school library for an afternoon, and your class would parade through and pick up books, and sometimes there would even be an author there, promoting their latest work. I loved them, and I always loaded up on all the books I could find. You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this, but I think it’s important to explain that I was about 11 when I picked out this book, and it’s quality reflects that. I read this book so many times throughout middle school, it was one of my absolute favourites. Then it was placed on my shelf and for whatever reason I didn’t pick it up again. Recently, while re-organizing my shelves I stumbled upon it again, and feeling nostalgic I thought, why not? I’ll give it a go. I really wish I had just left this book in my memory as an unspoiled beloved favourite.
This book lacks any cohesive plot, the story jumps around and moves at break-neck speed, and as a consequence it loses its emotional weight. The idea was interesting enough (honestly I am not sure what genre this is, it takes place in the past but has futuristic technology…) but the execution was somewhat lacking. Chapters that had moved me to tears ten years ago, now made me cringe and suppress an eye roll. All the ingredients for a good story are there, they just seem to be put together in a haphazard way.
I think this has really been a lesson to me, and I will not be tempted to read any childhood favourites again. Some (like the Nancy Drew series) are just clearly written for younger audiences, and it’s hard to read them now, as an adult. If you are looking for a book for middle school aged kids, I would definitely recommend this one; it’s not too long, and it has no explicit content. However, if you are looking for a good YA or adult read, I would recommend looking elsewhere. I thought long and hard about what to rate this book, and in the end my nostalgia, and former love of it is all that saved it from a one star rating.
What are some childhood books that you can’t re-read anymore? let me know in the comments!