STORYTELLER by Patricia Reilly Giff


Age Range: 10 - 14
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When her artist father is invited to Australia, Elizabeth must stay with an aunt she barely knows. There she comes to learn more about her family, which traces its history back to the Revolutionary War in upstate New York, and—even more important—Eliza, nicknamed Zee, an ancestor whose framed drawing graces her aunt’s wall and whom Elizabeth uncannily resembles. The novel is narrated in alternate chapters as Elizabeth and Zee, presumably young teens, tell their stories in the 21st and 18th centuries, respectively. Readers will be intrigued by their similarities—klutzy and forgetful, yet strong-willed and resourceful. The more compelling drama is Zee’s, whose family is caught up in the conflict of colonists torn between loyalties to crown or American patriotism. History is truly in the small details, and Zee’s story, narrated in first person, past tense, is fascinating and adventurous. Elizabeth’s voice is an odd choice, however. Her narration, in third person, present tense, is coolly distancing. Still, this is a lovely story about love and loss, a little-known aspect of Revolutionary history and the way the past informs the present, and the ending is gratifying. (author’s note) (Fiction. 10-14)
Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-83888-0
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2010


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