Friday, June 9, 2017

The Lost Girl of Astor Street [+ War of Loyalties Interview!]

War of Loyalties Update 
The countdown is on! War of Loyalties has 2 weeks left to raise the necessary funds to reach the Kickstarter goal, so we'll be hitting it hard in the next two weeks with prayers and spreading the word about the project. For $35 dollars, you can reserve your own ebook+print copy of War of Loyalties--and my undying gratitude! Check out the Kickstarter campaign here:

Also, check out an interview I did with Liz Koetsier about War of Loyalties--find out who was the easiest character to write, the difficulties of writing introverts, and more over at the Ink Lizard!)

And now on to our normal scheduled post. [Which is not connected in any way with War of Loyalties or the Kickstarter campaign.]

Today, we're going to continue on the historical fiction roll with The Lost Girl of Astor Street! And to be honest, I can't think of a more perfect book for someone to take on their vacation this summer. I love Stephanie's community over at Go Teen Writers, and having been intrigued by this book ever since I heard about it, I took advantage of a recent $1.99 deal on Amazon to check out her newest 1920s mystery.

The Book 
[book cover above and description below from Stephanie Morrill's website.]

Lydia has vanished.

Lydia, who’s never broken any rules, except falling in love with the wrong boy. Lydia, who’s been Piper’s best friend since they were children. Lydia, who never even said good-bye.

Convinced the police are looking in all the wrong places, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail begins her own investigation in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. With the reluctant help of a handsome young detective, Piper goes searching for answers in the dark underbelly of 1924 Chicago, determined to find Lydia at any cost.

When Piper discovers those answers might stem from the corruption strangling the city—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

From the glitzy homes of the elite to the mob-run streets of 1920s Chicago, Stephanie Morrill’s jazz-age mystery shows just how far a girl will go to save her friend.

My Thoughts 
This book has fingerprints of feeling, excitement, and love all over it. It's one of those books that I think Stephanie must have loved while she wrote it, and I loved reading it just as much. Exploring things like 1920s girls' schools, privilege, friendship, and fear, the setting of a rich neighborhood in the 1920s comes off really well through the eyes of a 17 or 18 year-old young woman. All the characters felt important, with a fun variety of lives and personalities intersecting, and the scenes and details were really tight and fed into the main conflict of the story.

Content-wise, *mild spoiler warning* this book deals with kidnapping and makes references to girls being trafficked (which is referenced but not shown) and marital affairs. There is one scene where Piper has to go into an unpleasant part of town and flirt, and is concerned about male attention. *end of mild spoiler warning* However, I didn't think any content was overwhelming to the story.

One of the themes was extremely subtle and so excellent. Piper thinks of her father's girlfriend like the Evil-Stepmother-To-Be, and Joyce, a mother-figure in Piper's life, encourages her to expand her viewpoint. I also appreciated the realistic portrayal of grief that Piper endured. As someone who has tasted grief, though not in the same way as Piper, I can say that it does feel like the book portrays. Stephanie included it in a way that didn't feel depressing, while really honoring what Piper experienced.

This is something I don't do often, but it was an honest reaction, so I'll include it here. I'm not a huge fan of literary crushes, literary boyfriends, etc. I don't think it's a wise set-up for emotional purity, so I don't let myself go down that road too often. But I just want to say, I adored Mariano as a boyfriend. He's right up there on my list with Albert (The Young Victoria) Arthur Clennam (Little Dorrit) and Lord Melbourne (Victoria). He's willing to go out of his way to care about Piper's emotional and physical protection, and he's willing to listen and spend time with her. While all her family (father, brother, and Joyce) love her and want to protect her, Mariano adds the dynamic of romantic love. He's kind, he listens and communicates with her, and even when she makes mistakes or obsesses over an idea, he's patient, knowing that she needs to give her ideas a try in the middle of processing her friend's disappearance. In other words, I love characters that feel gentle and safe, and Mariano is one of those.

I really enjoyed this story so much. I read it in two days, and I might take it to the beach again this summer because I loved it, and it's the perfect vacation read. There have been so many positive reviews around here lately, and that honestly makes me super happy, because it means the TBR stack has been a thing of beauty and a joy forever. I hope you'll enjoy The Lost Girl of Astor Street too!

Who's your favorite type of YA love interest? Have you read The Lost Girl of Astor Street?

Check out Stephanie Morrill's website here and purchase The Lost Girl of Astor Street here. (No affiliate links! Just because I love it.)

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