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PaperQuake: A Puzzle (Time Travel Mystery Series)

PaperQuake: A Puzzle (Time Travel Mystery Series)

4.7 30
by Kathryn Reiss

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Violet's paralyzing fear of the San Francisco earthquakes changes when her family renovates an old building. An aftershock dislodges a letter addressed in 1906 to Baby V--and Violet is certain the disturbing letter is intended for her.


Violet's paralyzing fear of the San Francisco earthquakes changes when her family renovates an old building. An aftershock dislodges a letter addressed in 1906 to Baby V--and Violet is certain the disturbing letter is intended for her.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An adroit fusion of magic, romance and adventure."--Publishers Weekly
"[An] absorbing page-turner."--Kirkus Reviews
"A clever and skillfully written mystery."--The Horn Book
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Small, dark-haired 13-year-old Violet often feels like the "odd triplet out" in her interactions with her two older, healthier, golden-haired sisters. In this suspenseful fantasy novel, the setting changes from Berkeley/San Francisco today and the same area at the time of the disastrous 1906 quake. The author skillfully interweaves facts and fears about earthquakes with Vi's increasingly desperate attempts to make sense of her mysterious dreams, visions and written clues from the past to try to prevent quake related deaths in the near future. Vi's quest for her own identity and threads of romance add to the appeal of this complex, but fast moving young adult novel.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
When the triplets were born, Violet was the sickly one with brown hair. The two others were blond and bubbly. Now that they are twelve, Violet is healthy and she hates being treated differently from her siblings. But Vi has nightmares that seem to presage another quake involving the Golden Gate Bridge and many deaths. Can she stop the disaster if it occurs or is it all a figment of her imagination; part of the reason she is "different?" The author weaves a fascinating tale when Vi discovers parts of letters and diary entries in the old Victorian house her parents have bought. Perhaps she is related to the young woman named "V" who died in 1906. Reiss has crafted a rich, romantic tale that links the past with the present.
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 1998: At first I was impatient with the main character in this novel, considering her shallow and boring. Reiss then, as the story progresses, turns this one-dimensional girl into quite an interesting person, truly developing her character. Violet is the odd-triplet out, with her sisters confident, lovely and friendly, while she is hesitant and fearful, envying them all the while. The triplets live in Berkeley, California, and earthquakes feature large in the plot. Violet is frightened by the frequent quakes, even when they aren't strong; so she hates the thought of her science assignment, to investigate the 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco. This story becomes too convoluted to summarize here, but essentially characters Violet discovers through letters and diary entries from 1906 intervene in her own life to help prevent another earthquake disaster. Although this has elements of the supernatural, it doesn't seem like a typical fantasy/SF novel, and it isn't even quite a ghost story; but we could say definitely that many strange coincidences aren't really coincidences at all, as the past temporarily melds with the present. I think there are several elements here that will appeal to junior high students who will like the unfolding of Violet's courage, the eerie coincidences, the realistic sister and friend issues, and first boyfriend excitement. (A Time Travel Mystery). KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1998, Harcourt, 274p.,
— Claire Rosser
VOYA - Meg Wilson
Living in Berkeley, California, Violet is-ironically-terrified of earthquakes. For Berkeley sits right on a fault line and is occasionally rocked by quakes. Violet is the odd one out in a set of triplets, her sisters being identical twins. Plagued by a weak heart and sickly infancy, Violet is tired of being treated like a baby and wants to be more like her sisters. When she finds a mysterious old letter that appears to be addressed to her, but is dated 1906, Violet gets her chance to prove how special she is, even if she is different. A series of letters, dreams, and diary entries soon involve Violet and her sisters in an intricate mystery that seems to predict doom for San Francisco in the form of a very damaging earthquake. Violet assembles the last clues and cleverly prevents disaster just in the nick of time, closing the gap in the space-time continuum just as the earth's plates shift to close its gaps. This is an interesting blend of mystery and time travel that will keep many readers hooked to the end. Using writing techniques reminiscent of Nancy Drew books, Reiss has created a page-turner with lots of cliffhangers and suspense. The heroine is a likeable underdog who is easy to root for. The dialog is somewhat unrealistic; Violet is supposedly slow in school but she talks like an adult. This does not seriously mar the story, however, and for many young people, particularly Nancy Drew fans, this will be an enjoyable read. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8Eighth-grader Violet, a triplet, is fragile and plain compared to her two popular sisters. Suddenly, she begins discovering mysterious messages from the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Old letters and diary entries refer to a girl named "V," who strangely resembles Violet herself in the 1990s, and there are hints that something terrible happened to "V" nearly 100 years ago. As the clues build up, Violet gradually figures out that she is being sent a warning from the past and fears for her life. The messages make Violet stand out from her sisters, and she discovers strength and resourcefulness she never knew she had. The story begins slowly as the various plot elements are laid out. As the clues start to come together, Violet's experiences become more absorbing. The repeated discoveries she makes seem too unlikely and coincidental at first, but when she learns that a force from the past has planted them in her way, it all makes sense. There is true excitement by the climax, as Violet discovers that the Golden Gate Bridge may collapse in a quake, and only she can prevent a tragedy. The resolution is particularly satisfying, as Violet not only saves the day, but resists the temptation to brag about her secret heroism. Although the protagonist is not a fully drawn character, this title should have strong appeal for fans of fantasy, ghosts, and time travel. Readers who persist through the slow beginning will be rewarded with an absorbing and suspenseful adventure.Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Horn Book Magazine
Violet, Rose, and Jasmine Jackstone are triplets, but only beautiful and popular Rose and Jasmine are identical. Violet is the odd one out; she looks quite different and was, for a long time, very frail. She also has a passionate fear of earthquakes and suffers visions of children crying for help whenever there's an earthquake in the San Francisco Bay area, where they live. As the triplets help their parents in readying a new store for their pros-perous florist chain, Violet begins to find mysterious letters and messages, obviously written in the past, which seem to refer to her and incidents in her life. They also present a historical puzzle, seeming to hint at a murder and involvement in the great 1906 earthquake and fire. As Violet pursues this riddle, gaining self-confidence, she begins to engage her sisters' interest and respect, loses her fear of dying young, and even meets a boy she likes. The two themes of adventure and family relationships are deftly woven into the historical drama, and heightened by an atmospheric sense of place. Although credibility is begged here and there, this is a clever and skillfully written mystery.
Kirkus Reviews
A modern California teenager finds letters and diary pages from the early years of this century in this gripping, emotionally turbulent story from the author of Dreadful Sorry (1993). Violet, the non-identical member in a set of triplets, has had heart problems since birth, but is nevertheless tired of being babied by her sisters and parents. Helping to restore an old San Francisco house, she finds love letters from "Hal" to "V" and a 1906 diary, kept in the back of old ledgers, in which V's nurse, Laela, describes caring for her chronically ill charge and professes her own hidden love for Hal. Oddly, the more Violet learns about V's life, the more her own seems to move in parallel; even more distressingly, as a series of small earthquakes rock the area, Violet begins having visions and dreams of children caught in a fiery disaster. Both V and Laela had visions too, of disaster on a great bridge, and as more pages of the diary fall into Violet's hands, she becomes convinced that she's being sent a warning. Is another great quake coming? As Reiss weaves in well-timed twists and eerie coincidences that set the plot thrumming with tension, she also captures with compelling insight the changes adolescence brings to the complex relationships among Violet, her sisters, and her parents. Reiss juggles multiple themes and plotlines with masterful control in this absorbing page-turner. (Fiction. 11-15)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Time Travel Mystery Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.62(d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

KATHRYN REISS is the author of many acclaimed time-travel mystery novels for teens. She lives in northern California.

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PaperQuake: A Puzzle 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Violet...a shy gurl with a paralying fear of earthquakes. In science class, she has a teacher named Mr. Koch. Recently, there have been a series of earthquakes. One of which was in the lower to midle section on the Richter scale. So what better luck does Violet get when Mr. Koch tells her to do a report on earthquakes. This began a series of events that started at her house. Right now, she lives with her two sisters, Jasmine "Jazzy" and Rosemary "Rose". She also lives with her father, Greg and her mother, Lily. Do these names sound familiar? If they do, you would reconize they are all types of flowers (except Greg). These series of events happened when her parents, florists, bought a new shop on Chance Street. It was once owned by milleners with the last name of Stowe. Since the last of the family has perished, the property went on the retail market for Violet's family to buy. One day, while cleaning the shop, an earthquake happened which caused a ceevice to form in the wall. In that crevice, a letter appeared which got pulled out by Violet. For an excerpt of this letter see page 55 which says, " ' My own beloved Baby V, is your heart still aching? I ache myself when I think of the pain you have been in.' " That is just one excerpt out of many letters. But all of of these letters have one thing in common. The writing is mysteriously related to Violet. Examples of this are in the following. Violet has a boyfriend named Sam, she had heart trouble when she was young, and she has two sisters. Similiarly, the other girl, Verity had a boyfriend named Han and has rwo sisters whose names start with J&R. Also, Verity had heart trouble her whole life! But the coincidences don't end there. It seems like when something happens in the letters, that event happens to Violet. So Violet is off on a chase to see if her fortune will come true. Will she do it or will a tragic experience happen? Read this book to see what happens. I noticed that this book has a mystery/drama genre to it. Just from the emotions of the characters, I can tell the author's purpose. The amazing part is, considering this 264 page book with an average of 100-125 words/page, Kathryn continued the plot flawlessly plus with the same genre. I say that is a feather in the cap. Even though the AR level of the book is 5.3, I would make it more on the range of 6.0-6.3. The only reason is, some people might have trouble with the words because their words/minute statistic might not be as high. During social studies/ELA class, this book would be a good one to read to the class. Reading this book made me think about the earthquakes in California. Specifically, the 1906 earthquake and the San Andreas fault line. In this book, the author mentions that one earthquake many times. Also, this book mentions other places such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences, and Chance Street (which could or could not be real). This book even adds some hisorical detail to a few of these places. Adding to science, Mr. Koch talks about geology and plate tectonics. Overall, this book has a lot of science material in it. I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars because of the science involved with it. I always love a good mystery book and this one qualifies for that category. Which means that I would recommend this book to many people. My favorite parrs are when the setting takes place at the Stowe's house. People would probably agree with me from this section...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was in middle school, I think when i was 13-14ish. I am now 25 and just read it again. I absolutely love this book. I can't wait to read it to my daughters someday. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can you get sweet miss honeywells revenge on the nook
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It was exciting from biggining to end,with as much detail to make you feel as if you were there but not so much that it bores you. I LOVED IT!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book by Kateryn Reiss that I read. I read it when I was in 7th grade for a book report. My teacher was worried that I was not going to finish, but I read it in two days.lol
Guest More than 1 year ago
O.M.G although this was a old book in all I have to say I loved it i mean it was outstandingly great I couldn't but it down but whenever I did have to I was mad because I really wish there was more to the story! oh and dont let me get started on the author she totally wrote that book I mean she made the character seem so smart especially when she wrote the part about going the bomb! that was so cool! I would have never thought if thatt In one of my storys
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was awesome how Reiss made you keep reading and turning the pages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a good book but it was boring in the first half and was very slow but in the middle it got much better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first read this book I was 13 and still in middle school. Now I am 16 and re-reading it and I still enjoy it greatly. It is fun to put yourself in Vi's place and imagine what it might feel like to find all those letters from the past and feel like they were about you. I recommend this book to any middle school-er
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Its fun to try to solve the puzzle and to pice together the clues. Kathryn Reiss has a way of bring the past to life. It is a must have for anyone that loves history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! Reiss got me hooked from the beginning to the end! A MUST READ!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Vilote is a fun loving person and the book is great if you like mystery, action, or just like learning about earthquakes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
was recomended to me and im glad that they let me read the book because it was sooooooooooo good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this story was about violet jackstone and how her life was parallelled with a girl who lived nearly a hundred years ago: Verity Stowe. it is very interesting and very hard to put down. READ IT!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was just amazing! Theres no other way to describe it. This was another of my most favorite books and is filled with a string of mysterious letters dated from the past. You never know when another eartjquake will hit their town in California and the reader will not be able to stop their adventure in 'PaperQuake.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book! Without a doubt, one of the best books I've ever read! So intense, haunting, and captivating that I read it in four hours! I would reccomend this book to anyone, no matter what kind of books they like!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book! Without a doubt, one of the best books I've ever read! So intense, haunting, and captivating that I read it in three hours! I would reccomend this book to anyone, no matter what kind of books they like!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of my favorites. It had a mystery with a little bit of a twisted plot so it keeps you hooked. You never want to put the book down. It deals with modern day situations. It's a great book and you really should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't finished Paperquake yet: I hope to tonight. But each night when I have to put it down, I struggle. I have been very tired in the morning because of this. I feel so bad for Vi in the beginning, when it's always the twins and her. I like when her sisters and her become more like triplets. This book gets freakier each time she finds something new. I loveit!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Paper Quake has grabbed my attention. This book makes you feel sorry, scared, and a little neverous. Areccomend this book to any one from the age of 9-19.