Shecter, Vicky Alvear Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii, 311 pgs. Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic Inc.), 2014. Language - PG (4 swears, 0 "f"), Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG;
Lucia's father is in charge of a gladiator school in Pompeii, but the school is not having much success. In order to get more funding, Lucia is being married off to a rich man forty years older than her. There was no desire at all in Lucia to marry an old man, but, when her childhood friend, Tag, comes back, it gets harder to accept the idea of marrying she does not--will not--love.
There was a lot of information in this book about the ancient Roman culture and about Pompeii that I didn't know before. I liked that historical aspect of this book as well as the use of some Latin words (like "apa," "mater," and "dominus"). Furthermore, it was a good story, if somewhat predictable. There was enough action and suspense to keep me interested, and I fell in love with the main characters--I was rooting for them every step of the way. It is a story of love, but also of life after tragedy.
MS, HS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen