A SEA SO FAR by Jean Thesman


Age Range: 11 - 14
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The lives of two teenage girls, each seeking a connection with her dead mother, intertwine as they recover from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. When the earthquake strikes, orphan Kate Keely loses her home to fire and flees with her aunt and Irish neighbors. <\b>They overcome their considerable problems, and a year later are running a boarding house. Jolie Logan, the sickly daughter of a wealthy doctor, loses her mother in the earthquake and becomes obsessed with restoring their house in her mother’s memory to exactly how it was before the quake. When Jolie needs a companion, Kate comes to live with the difficult girl. Kate’s dream is to visit Ireland, her mother’s home, leaving painful memories of San Francisco behind. Her wish comes true when they go to visit Jolie’s aunt in Ireland, but the trip jeopardizes Jolie’s precarious health. Kate, a personable, self-reliant protagonist, learns through leaving to value her home in San Francisco. Jolie, who struggles with a weak heart and inflamed joints, remains largely self-absorbed until just before the end. Interesting details about the earthquake, the train journey across the country, Ireland, and conditions for women at the time enliven the text. However, the realistic tone shifts jarringly with the introduction of an Irish doctor’s wife who has mystical powers for healing and predicting the future. The story closes on a sentimental note at odds with the earlier straightforward story. An enjoyable read but not in the league with Thesman’s strongest works, such as Rachel Chance (o.p.) and The Rain Catchers (1991). (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-670-89278-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001


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