The Unresolved

The Unresolved

3.6 3
by T.K. Welsh, J.G. Sandom

Mallory Meer has just turned fifteen years old, and within an hour, thanks to the only boy she's ever loved, she'll be dead, a victim of the General Slocum steamship disaster. Bound by love to her grieving family, and outraged by the multitude of senseless deaths, Mallory haunts those responsible for the tragedy, determined to see that justice is served.

T. K.Welsh

See more details below


Mallory Meer has just turned fifteen years old, and within an hour, thanks to the only boy she's ever loved, she'll be dead, a victim of the General Slocum steamship disaster. Bound by love to her grieving family, and outraged by the multitude of senseless deaths, Mallory haunts those responsible for the tragedy, determined to see that justice is served.

T. K.Welsh's beautifully crafted novel, his first for young adults, is at once a chilling ghost story, an ode to the power of love, and a tribute to those who died in the second-largest disaster in New York City history.

Author Biography: T. K.Welsh lives in Hopewell Township, New Jersey.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Narrated by the ghost of a 15-year-old girl who drowned when the steamship General Slocum burned and sank in the East River on June 15, 1904, this historical novel with a supernatural twist offers a (dark) take on New York. Welsh writes with a precision and delicacy unusual for YA fiction. Here's the drowned girl's underwater view after the catastrophe: Through the waving arms and legs . . . if you looked carefully, you could still see tiny hairs on the dead skin, rippling like rabbit fur in a breeze. But an equally unflinching exploration of issues from anti-Semitism and corruption to adolescent sexuality makes this one strictly for older readers.
Horn Book Magazine
Using the convention of a spirit unable to rest until its death is avenged, Welsh spins a decidedly unconventional ghost story about New York's General Slocum steamboat disaster of 1904. Fifteen-year-old Mallory Meer is one of some 1,300 pleasure-goers, mostly German Lutherans on a church outing, on the Slocum; another passenger is Dustin Brauer, the sixteen-year-old Jewish boy she fancies. A quick kiss down below deck is followed by a fire sparked by a carelessly dropped cigarette, which leads to the burning or drowning of over one thousand passengers and the foundering of the ship. Mallory herself speaks to the reader from death, her spirit flitting from the official inquest into the disaster to the informal, parallel inquest held in Kleindeustchland, or Little Germany, which seeks to hold Dustin responsible. It's a highly effective device, to have Mallory looking over the shoulders - and in some cases, inhabiting the bodies - of the personalities involved. Welsh presents the details of the disaster without flinching and explores both the pain and the self-serving motivations of all concerned. Set against a backdrop that includes the rise of labor and pervasive anti-Semitism, it's a tightly wound novel of conflicting interests and emotions that keep Mallory haunting long after the inquests are concluded.
F. Todd Goodson
In an interesting twist for historical fiction, T.K. Welsh's first young adult novel, The Unresolved, develops a tale of romance told from the point of view of a ghost, a victim of the true-life burning and sinking of the steamship the General Slocum in New York City's East River in June 1904. In the novel, the steamship fire is started after our protagonist, 15-year-old Mallory, receives her first kiss from a young man. He attempts to save her, but the ship's lifejackets are rotten (a historically accurate detail), and she drowns after he pushes her into the water. He survives, only to be blamed for causing the fire, and our now ghostly narrator cannot rest until justice is done. No doubt many adolescents will enjoy this blend of romance and the supernatural set against the backdrop of an American tragedy that is often overlooked.
Children's Literature - Janet L. Rose
Approximately 1300 people were on board the General Slocum going from Manhattan to Long Island Sound on that fateful day in 1904. A fire consumed the ship and 1000 died because the life vests crumbled, the lifeboats were bolted tight, and the ship headed away from the closest dock due to oil tankers. Sixteen-year-old Mallory dies in the disaster and, as a ghost, she visits key players, witnesses the trial, and finally learns the truth. She and Dustin meet in the Lamp Room for a lover's kiss and are discovered by the jealous Bingham, who intentionally throws his lit cigarette on the straw hoping Dustin, the "Jew," will be blamed. At the inquest, the Captain is on trial for not docking at the nearest port, the owner is on trial for old and faulty equipment, and Dustin is accused of starting the fire. Although the characters are believable, the trial goes on forever and there are several inconsistencies in the plot, including a situation where a mob is after Dustin, and then isn't, and Dustin's father is blamed just because he's Jewish.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-On the day of her first kiss, June 15, 1904, Mallory Meer, 15, dies in the General Slocum steamship disaster. That historical blaze killed more than 1000 people from the part of New York City known as Kleindeutschland. Dustin Brauer, her Jewish boyfriend, had snuck aboard to be with her. Now, he is accused of setting the fire by the son of his father's employer, a leader in the German neighborhood. As the official coroner's inquest occurs, a secondary one takes place in the community with Dustin on trial. Mallory, now insubstantial, sees everything and helps the truth to emerge. While historically no conclusive proof was found of how the fire started, Welsh does a creditable job of imagining how it spread, including disturbing images of those trapped on the burning vessel. He uses Mallory's ghostly presence to bring the coroner's inquest, and those from the boat company and the safety inspector's office, to life. Unresolved tells a remarkable story in a remarkable way. Give this engrossing novel to fans of Kathryn Reiss or Vivian Vande Velde's Being Dead (Harcourt, 2001), and to those who like a supernatural flair with their historical fiction. Without explaining anti-Semitism or corruption, Welsh shows readers the neighborhood's vibrancy and prejudices and helps them to understand how justice worked in early-20th-century New York.-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Prior to 9/11, the greatest single disaster of New York City's history occurred on June 15, 1904, when the steamship General Slocum caught fire on the East River, killing over 1,000 passengers. Most were German women and children headed to the Sunday School picnic of St. Mark's Lutheran Church. Welsh tells his story through the ghost of 15-year-old Mallory, whose first kiss-from a Jewish boy-may have precipitated the fire. Mallory's ghost roams the Lower East Side, witnessing the attempts of the grossly negligent steamship company to avoid blame; the parents carrying tiny, home-made coffins to the graveyard; and the German merchants, hoping to scapegoat someone from outside their community. In this last, Welsh falls short, as the catastrophic emotions the survivors must have felt pale, in his version, against the idea that they might be able to blame a Jew. While the physical time and place are very well realized, the emotional landscape isn't-Mallory's ghostly presence contributes to an overall feeling of detachment. On the whole, however, a remarkable account of an incident about which many Americans know nothing at all. (Historical fiction. 14+)

Read More

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.72(d)
640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >