Friday, October 30, 2009

Crossing Stones


Frost, Helen. 2009. Crossing Stones. FSG. 184 pages.

You'd better straighten out your mind, Young Lady.

Loved, loved, loved this verse novel by Helen Frost. It's historical fiction. A drama following the lives of two families. The Jorgensens and The Normans. The year is 1917 (and 1918). We've got many narrators (both male and female), many stories. Emma and Frank Norman. Ollie and Muriel Jorgensen. Frank loves Muriel. (Does she love him like that though?) Ollie loves Emma.
But war has its own role to play in the lives of these two families. It changes everything. It changes what should be and what could be. It confuses everyone, taints everything. Will anyone be the same after it is all over?

Women's suffrage. World War I. Spanish influenza. Muriel, Ollie, and Emma are coming of age at a difficult time in American history. Muriel is arguably the strongest narrator of the bunch. She believes in peace, hates that American soldiers are getting involved in the war, hates the fact that the men in her life--Frank and Ollie--are wanting to go to war, enlisting. She's a suffragist--in her dreams at least. She supports the cause. Even though she's not actively involved in marches and protests and such. Like her aunt.

The book examines how war--this war in particular--shaped the men and women of that generation.

What did I love about this book? Just about everything! I loved the setting. Felt it very rich in detail. Loved the feeling of losing myself in another time and place. I loved getting a look at what life was like (or what it could have been like at the very least) during this time period. So much of what I read--when it comes to war--is set during World War II, so it was refreshing to see this one about World War I. It was interesting to me. Compelling. The poetry was great. Loved the different voices--each narrator was unique, and I appreciated all the different perspectives. I loved that it made me think, really think. It's one that I'd definitely recommend to those in my life that can't get enough historical fiction.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

A Buckeye Girl Reads 12:07 PM  

This sounds like a great read-I love historical fiction, and a book set in WWI would be a refreshing change of pace. You're right most of the historical fiction I've read is set in WWII instead of WWI.

Laura H 6:54 PM  

Is this one out yet? I checked my library and I didnt see it. Maybe its too new.

Sharla 1:46 AM  

Great review. It sounds and looks like a really great book. I may have to add it to my reading list.

Ms. Yingling 6:03 AM  

It's tough to get students to read Helen Frost, but her poetry is sublime. Have you read her Keisha's House? That's one students will read, and it is clever as well.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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  • fantasy
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  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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