THE JEWEL AND THE KEY by Louise Spiegler


Age Range: 11 - 16
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Addie dreams of becoming an actress but only finds success when she discovers a way to travel through time to a Seattle theater of 1917.

The theater, the Jewel, is derelict in Addie’s own time, but in 1917 it’s a vibrant institution run by a determined woman and her handsome, talented son, Reg. Addie immediately falls for him and gets swept up in some of the issues of his day. The city police work to bust a union, America is entering into World War I and, most immediately, a union member is accused of murder after a violent demonstration. In her own time, Addie is also dealing with her best friend Whaley’s determination to enlist to fight in an unpopular (but coyly unspecified) war, the aftereffects of an earthquake and her inability to find a place in her school’s theater clique. Characters abound, a full set for each time period, but few are more than lightly sketched. A strong anti-war theme, diminished by the vague nature of the conflict, infuses both stories but ultimately just distracts from the disjointed plot. Too much is going on, and a predictable denouement that attempts to draw all the threads into cohesion falls flat.

 Save this for time-travel enthusiasts; others may find it less than timeless. (Fantasy. 11-16)

Pub Date: July 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-14879-3
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Clarion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2011


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