PAPERQUAKE by Kathryn Reiss


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A modern California teenager finds letters and diary pages from the early years of this century in this gripping, emotionally turbulent story from the author of Dreadful Sorry (1993). Violet, the non-identical member in a set of triplets, has had heart problems since birth, but is nevertheless tired of being babied by her sisters and parents. Helping to restore an old San Francisco house, she finds love letters from ""Hal"" to ""V"" and a 1906 diary, kept in the back of old ledgers, in which V's nurse, Laela, describes caring for her chronically ill charge and professes her own hidden love for Hal. Oddly, the more Violet learns about V's life, the more her own seems to move in parallel; even more distressingly, as a series of small earthquakes rock the area, Violet begins having visions and dreams of children caught in a fiery disaster. Both V and Laela had visions too, of disaster on a great bridge, and as more pages of the diary fall into Violet's hands, she becomes convinced that she's being sent a warning. Is another great quake coming? As Reiss weaves in well-timed twists and eerie coincidences that set the plot thrumming with tension, she also captures with compelling insight the changes adolescence brings to the complex relationships among Violet, her sisters, and her parents. Reiss juggles multiple themes and plotlines with masterful control in this absorbing page-turner.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace