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MERCURY by Hope Larson Kirkus Star


by Hope Larson

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4169-3585-8
Publisher: Atheneum

Lost treasure, mother love and misbegotten romance form the bases of this richly rewarding intergenerational graphic novel. Alternating chapters tell the story of Tara, a contemporary teen who is starting over after her house was destroyed by fire, and Josey, Tara’s Canadian pioneer ancestor, who lived on the same piece of land 150 years ago. When a handsome stranger approaches Josey’s family with an unbelievable offer, her mother’s suspicion is aroused, leading to tragic results. Magical realism appears in the form of a necklace containing mercury that supposedly attracts gold and serves as a catalyst for change in both girls’ lives. When fate brings the necklace to Tara, she is able to right prior wrongs and recover a hidden fortune that lays all the old ghosts to rest. Larson skillfully maintains suspense through a deliberate revealing of facts that eventually come full circle, much like the mythical necklace with its spherical pendant. Classic themes of love, family, betrayal and renewal combine to create multilayered historical fiction that perfectly illustrates how the past continues to influence the present. (Graphic historical fiction. 12 & up)