By Caroline Starr Rose
Expected publication March 10, 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Alis has just arrived with her parents in the New World, eager to claim the land for England. But her eagerness is soon replaced by trepidation, as her beloved uncle is nowhere to be found. It soon becomes clear that the relationship with the local natives is strained at best, deadly at worst. But Alis has a hard time believing that Kimi, a Roanoke girl she meets, could ever mean her harm. Will the two groups reach an understanding?
I was pleased to see a new book by Rose show up on my radar. I enjoyed her previous title, May B. (though apparently, I never reviewed it). Perhaps my enjoyment was due to the combination of two things I love: historical fiction and novels in verse. If that's the case, then her new book was definitely another to look forward to.
It only took me a few hours to read this one - the benefit of reading a novel in verse, I suppose. However, Rose certainly does an excellent job creating a compelling world through that verse. I think, perhaps, this story is well-suited to the verse format because there is an emphasis on experiencing nature. Alis truly falls in love with the untamed island of Roanoke, something I don't think she initially expects. She obviously doesn't expect to befriend a native girl, either, and the blossoming of their friendship is quite lovely to watch. I liked that both girls were clearly looking to replace something they'd lost when they find each other and that neither is deterred by their lack of commonalities.
While I liked that the story is set on Roanoke Island, I also liked that Rose didn't make too much of the mystery of what happened to those first settlers. She discusses it more in an author's note at the end, but really, her story is of the two girls, and I think it works well to keep it that way. I also was surprised by the ending, something I wasn't expecting.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via NetGalley.