|Gold rush girl|
Rhode Island native Victoria (Tory) Blaisdell finds her way to mud-caked, tent-filled San Francisco in 1848 to find a new life of adventure with her father and younger brother only to end up on an unintended--and perilous--adventure to save her kidnapped brother.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.10
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 507343
Kirkus Reviews (01/01/20)
School Library Journal (03/01/20)
Booklist (+) (02/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/20)
The Hornbook (00/05/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2020 *Starred Review* Life for the Blaisdell family in 1840s Providence, Rhode Island, is nice and normal, but this state of affairs chafes at 13-year-old Victoria (Tory), who yearns for adventure. She’s frustrated by the lack of opportunities in Providence, including not being allowed to attend school. Tory snatches education where she can, learning to read from her mother and having her younger brother, Jacob, share his lessons with her. The family’s stability abruptly ends when her father loses his accounting job and her mother becomes ill. Father chooses to take Jacob with him to San Francisco to join the California gold rush, but Tory’s determined not to be left behind. With her mother’s permission, Tory secretly stows away on board the ship. The three face life as they’ve never known it, one marked by mud, tents, and lawlessness. When Father heads to the gold fields, leaving Tory and Jacob alone in San Francisco, Tory resents being in charge of Jacob. But when her brother goes missing, she launches a frantic search to find him. With his characteristically suspenseful style, Avi crafts a rousing historical adventure helmed by a spirited protagonist whom readers will love. Tory’s first-person narration further connects readers to the gold rush–era story, which concludes with room for future exploits. One of Avi’s best. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2020 Gr 4–6—Gold rush fever brings 13-year-old Tori, her father, and her younger brother Jacob to 1849 San Francisco. The untamed town is a world away from their staid life in Providence, but headstrong Tori embraces the move. Like her literary heroine Jane Eyre, Tori longs for a life of adventure. After their father leaves for the gold fields, Tori and Jacob fend for themselves in a city where the vulnerable are often exploited. Jacob's sudden disappearance compels Tori to set aside her dreams of independence and find her brother. Avi once more proves himself a master of historical fiction, effectively using Tori's search to immerse readers in the city's sights and sounds. Fully realized supporting characters reflect the mélange of cultures and dreams that brought people to California in search of gold. Tori is more than the "spunky girl ahead of her time" trope; she's a daughter, a sister, a friend, and an individual who is set on achieving her dreams but not at the expense of others. Avi speaks through Tori to convey appreciation for libraries, literature, and the true value of reading: "It is not to learn about others. It is to learn about oneself." VERDICT Tori discovers adventure in the novel's taut, suspenseful narrative, and self-determination in the final scene, which leaves readers' spirits as full as the sails on the little boat that carries her toward the future. A first purchase for all middle grade libraries.—Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.