Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham - ESSENTIAL

Latham, Jennifer Dreamland Burning, 365 pages. Little, Brown and Company, 2017. $10.33.  Language: R (74 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content:PG-13; Violence: PG-13. 

This is a beautiful interweaving story of present day wealthy teenager named Rowan and 1921 wealthy teenager named William. Rowan discovers the body of a century old murder in her backyard. Along with her friend James, they spend the summer solving the mysteries of the past, and uncover not just the murderer, but what really happened in the Tulsa Race Riot. In 1921, William is working in his father’s shop in a time of Jim Crow segregation laws. William comes to know two African Americans, Joseph and Ruby. As he is forming those friendships, Vernon Fish keeps trying to recruit William to the KKK. On the night of the Tulsa Race Riot, William is forced to make decisions on the night that Tulsa burns.

This is a true coming of age story that has the characters discover who they really are, and how they will react to social and racial injustice. The writing is beautiful. The plot is lively, and moves at a good pace. The author gives you enough clues about the mystery to keep you interested and guessing at who is the skeleton. The author does a great job of weaving past and present into a seamless story. The characters show the way that racial and social injustice can be overcome. I love how Rowan and William, each in their own way, are challenged in their beliefs, and stand up for what is right. 

HS - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: RK

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