Welcome to a day of young adult/mid-grade recommended reading! Here’s the complete list of bloggers/books participating in Elana Johnson’s Spread the Awesome. You can also click on the link below to read the next post on the list. Before you go, make sure to enter my contest for your own signed copy of THREE RIVERS RISING.
I have always loved how historical fiction gives a glimpse of everyday lives at a different time. Add to this the mix of natural disaster, a love story, secrets between sisters, a class system thrown off course by tragedy, and a chance at redemption, and you have Jame Richards’s beautiful debut, THREE RIVERS RISING: A NOVEL OF THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD.
Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood, Jame Richards (Knopf 2010)
3RR is a YA historical novel-in-verse. I know a lot of you aren’t familiar with NiVs, so here’s a feel for Jame’s story:
Thunder falls toward us
from high up the mountain pass.
Breath and screams
leave the lungs
all at once.
Fingernails dig into the tree
and my face buries itself
in the wet trunk.
The water is on its way
and I am already drowning.
From the cover: Sixteen-year-old Clelestia vacations with her family at the elite resort at Lake Conemaugh, a shimmering Allegheny Mountain reservoir held in place by an earthern dam. Tired of the superficial cheer and sly judgments of the society crowd, she much prefers to swim and fish with Peter, the hotel’s hired boy. It’s a friendship she must keep secret — her parents would never approve — and when companionship turns to romance, it’s a love that could get Celestia disowned.
These affairs of the heart become all the more wrenching on a single, tragic day in May 1889. After days of heavy rain, the dam fails, unleashing twenty million tons of water onto Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the valley below — the town where Peter lives with his father.
Told by multiple narrators, Jame Richards’s searing novel in poems explores a cross-class romance, the random hand of disaster, and a tragic and indelible event in American history.
Not only is Jame’s work remarkable, she is approachable. When I first heard about her novel (thank you, Valerie!), my own historical NiV was on submission. It’s stressful having any book out with editors, but I think there’s a special anxiety for those of us whose work isn’t commerical or cutting edge, or for that matter, written as prose. I emailed Jame, asking about her submission process. She shared with me her experiences and told me there would eventually be an editor who got what I was trying to do. I’ve kept a print out of that email in my calendar ever since. Thank you, Jame, for encouraging me along the way.
If you would like to win a signed copy of Jame’s THREE RIVERS RISING, comment below. This contest is open to all readers (international friends, too) You don’t have to follow my blog to participate. The contest closes Friday, 7 May 6:00pm CDT.
Be sure to read the next recommended book by clicking the link below:
Jackee Alston at Winded Words reviews Elizabeth Bunce (A Curse As Dark As Gold)