- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
VOYATumultuous describes both the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the relationship between two of the city's inhabitants, teenager Jessie Wainwright and her father, the eminent Dr. Wainwright. Jessie wants a medical career, but her father will not hear of it. The family's Chinese manservant, Ching Lee, gives Jessie silent support, but he and his niece, Mei, flee in disgrace after Mei becomes pregnant by Jessie's father. Hurt yet protective of her unknown sister, Jessie searches for Mei sporadically until a handsome, young doctor leads her to an earthquake shelter and Mei's daughter. Jessie struggles to find a way to support her half sister and continue her medical career. The book's slow development makes it seem long, and the ending, which includes Dr. Wainwright's deathbed repentance and an inheritance for both his daughters, is far too tidy. And there is a certain degree of predictability to the downfall of Mei, Jessie's wrangles with her father, and her eventual relationship with the young doctor. That said, it is readable historical fiction about an engrossing event in U.S. history. Teens will find meaning in comparing the human effects of this natural disaster with more recent disasters like Katrina and the Pakistan earthquake. The book's orange cover, with houses slanting off to the side, will surely be noticed by teens, and libraries looking for young adult historical fiction will not find too much to complain about. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Harcourt, 352p., $17. Ages 12 to 18.