Book: The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis
Author: Elle Thornton
Release date (if applicable): Published
Synopsis: Gabriella just coming into her teen years in the 1950's segregated South struggles with boys, her mother, who doesn't want to be found, living in a mental institution, trying to convince her father not to send her to boarding school and pondering the death of Emmett Till, a 14 year old Black young man shot in the head after being savagely beaten, weights tied to his body and being dumped like trash in a river, in 1955 for wolf whistling a White married woman. She devises a plan to win a swimming contest to solve all of her problems. This plan will involve being trained to swim by Hawkins a Black man who works in her father's military quarters. In the racially divided South, is this a smart plan and will Hawkins survive associating with a young White woman? How will the Summer of 1957 change Gabriella and will it be for the better?
My rating: 5 Stars
My opinion: A very thoughtful coming of age book written for that audience (preteen to young teens). The writing is superb and I really felt I was in Gabriella's head with some of the "magical" thinking of the littlest things will solve life's biggest problems. This book was not over the top, at all. Racial references were written very tastefully.
I must admit that I have come across some very tastefully written books on very important subjects in the YA genre and that makes me feel good when so many of the books coming out are on vampires, witches and stuff like that. This book was a breath of fresh air to make teens think about the past and vicious moments in our history.
I must admit that I had to keep in mind that this book was written for the preteen-early teen audience. I would have liked to have see more detail on the death of Emmett Till, since the book was dedicated to him and frequently referred to him "in the shadows of the event" that was his death. I think this could have been accomplished have been accomplished by even a short prologue into who he was and why he died such an ugly death. However, even I must admit that this is a fine line, had she have gone too graphic, I would have been ripping her apart in this review for portraying too much violence with our children.
Source: Author Provided
Would I recommend? : Yes, even to adults. When I finally got to it, it was a very quick read. I read it in one sitting, but it would be a very light read for adults.
Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone