I enjoy books written in this format because it forces the writer to choose only the most important words which makes for an emotional impact. This book made me cry, which is a good thing because it means the writer knows her art form well.
Richards researched the Johnstown flood, added fictional characters, and created an interesting and heart rending story about class lines, culture, shunning, family relationships, bravery, and the incredible human spirit.
I loved Celestia's spirit and bravery. I liked the change in her father. Maura was brave, strong, and true. Kate took heartache and turned it into a new life for herself.
This novel is the well deserved winner of the PEN New England Children's Book Caucus Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award.
Richards lists non-fiction books for further reading about the Johnstown flood, and she includes a time line that shows what happened to cause this devastating flood.
This book is for older teens and adults because of the situations and themes it contains.