Originally published in Library Journal, October 15, 2018.
In her third novel, Ross (What Was Mine; Making It) weaves a tale of the wealthy Hollingworth family and a secret that spans five generations. Rich historical details bring time periods to life from early 1900 wartime to the Great Depression and all the way up to September 11, 2001. Bridey, age 16, leaves Ireland with her sweetheart, Thom, hoping to marry in America. Thom perishes of ship fever, leaving her alone and pregnant. She gives the infant up for adoption, working in a factory until she meets Sarah Hollingworth and becomes a maid at the family’s lavish estate in Wellington, CT. Sarah, who lost her mother at age 12 and then took care of her siblings, marries Edmund, but is unable to have children of her own. Readers will come to know the infant as Vincent and follow him until his adult years. Vincent’s granddaughter, Emma, loses her own father when the twin towers collapse, a repeating pattern of tragedy for the Hollingworth family. Family drama unfolds in alternating viewpoints; the characters are linked across time periods, as they navigate poverty, loss, loneliness, and heartbreak. VERDICT: Fans of historical sagas will enjoy this dramatic tale.
Originally published in School Library Journal, October 2018.
Gr. 9 & up: Josh, a typical Western High senior living in New Jersey, wakes up in a psych ward to a very atypical future, in which he is missing an eye as well as his girlfriend Sophie. Previously a cross-country star and popular kid, he must now retake his senior year as an overweight schizophrenic. Unable to get any truthful information from his hovering mother or therapist about the incident which resulted in his eye loss, he feels lost and trapped. To make matters worse, his younger brother Nate has become a star runner and everything that Josh used to be prior to the incident. He is forced to attend group meetings with other mental health patients when he would rather be looking for Sophie. Only when Josh starts to spend time with new girl and fellow outcast, Elizabeth Rinaldi, will he finally begin to make progress toward the truth. Readers will empathize with Josh and at the end, finally uncover the surprising truth regarding the missing eye and Sophie. VERDICT: While it provides an honest, unique view of mental health, this realistic fiction novel is light on depth and brief in plot compared to others in the genre, and therefore recommended for strictly additional purchase.