AFTERSHOCKS by William Lavender


Age Range: 12 & up
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One would expect a story deliberately released on the 100th-anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake to feature physical destruction as the main event. Instead, Lavender has the sense to make his characters the focus, and the famous quake the backdrop and mirror of their problems. Jessie Wainwright, 14, longs to be a physician like her stern father, but her parents expect her to ornament society like other girls of her class. Frustrated, she befriends Mei-li, a young Chinese immigrant maid. When she discovers her father having an affair with Mei-li, it shakes her world—and when Mei-li disappears, Jessie guesses why. She searches Chinatown unsuccessfully for the brother or sister she might have—the earthquake, a few years later, gives her new venues to explore. Jessie’s father and mother are complex characters, and as she grows to understand them better, Jessie attempts to shield them from pain while still pursuing justice. Her ultimate triumph feels right, and the historical details will attract those who like period fiction. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: April 18th, 2006
ISBN: 0-15-205882-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2006


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