THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH by Martha Brockenbrough
Kirkus Star

THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH

Age Range: 12 & up
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A lovingly realized Depression-era Seattle becomes the field of play for the latest round in the titular, age-old game.

In February 1920, Love and Death choose their newest pawns as infants: Love’s is Henry, a white boy of privilege (though influenza and grief rob him of much of it); Death’s is Flora, the soon-to-be-orphaned daughter of African-American jazz musicians. In spring of 1937, the game begins. Flora sings in—and actually owns part of—the family’s nightclub, but her heart is in the skies, where she flies a borrowed biplane and dreams of owning her own. Henry, a talented bass player, is poised to graduate from the tony private school he attends on scholarship with his best friend, Ethan, whose family took him in upon his father’s suicide. They meet when Henry and Ethan visit the airstrip where Flora works; the boys are in pursuit of a story for Ethan’s newspaper-magnate father. Brockenbrough’s precise, luscious prose cuts back and forth among the four protagonists, according each character equal depth, with Ethan playing a heartbreaking supporting role. The contrast between the youthful excitement of ardent Henry and pragmatic Flora and the ageless, apparent ennui of the immortals gains nuance as readers come to understand that Love and Death are not without their own complicated feelings.

Race, class, fate and choice—they join Love and Death to play their parts in Brockenbrough’s  haunting and masterfully orchestrated narrative. (Magical realism. 12 & up)

Pub Date: April 28th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-545-66834-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2015




APRIL’S BEST BETS:

FictionGOD HELP THE CHILD by Toni Morrison
by Toni Morrison
NonfictionMISSOULA by Jon Krakauer
by Jon Krakauer
NonfictionTHE LIGHT OF THE WORLD by Elizabeth Alexander
by Elizabeth Alexander
FictionTHE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE by Ann Packer
by Ann Packer

MORE BY MARTHA BROCKENBROUGH

ChildrenLOVE, SANTA by Martha Brockenbrough
by Martha Brockenbrough
ChildrenALEXANDER HAMILTON, REVOLUTIONARY by Martha Brockenbrough
by Martha Brockenbrough
ChildrenBACK TO SCHOOL WITH BIGFOOT by Samantha Berger
by Samantha Berger

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE APOCALYPSE OF ELENA MENDOZA by Shaun David Hutchinson
by Shaun David Hutchinson
ChildrenWHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF by Elana K. Arnold
by Elana K. Arnold
ChildrenBLACK DOVE, WHITE RAVEN by Elizabeth Wein
by Elizabeth Wein
ChildrenSTRINGS ATTACHED by Judy Blundell
by Judy Blundell