Plot: In her second Chloe Crandall adventure, Burrows has combined her interests in YA fiction and historical fiction to create an engaging novel that not only takes readers back to pioneer days of the Old West but also depicts the behind-the-camera facts about a TV reality show. Rising high school junior Chloe has won a spot on the American West Channel’s reality TV series Bridal Train. She and nine other young women will reenact the experience of traveling by wagon train (i.e., walking) 500 miles along the Santa Fe Trail from Independence, Missouri, to Bent’s Old Fort in Colorado. The story is full of mysteries, both those that are part of these women’s actual westward journey and those that are revealed in the historical accounting of the journey as experienced by the pioneer women of two hundred years ago.
Prose/Style: Chloe’s narration has a wonderful snarky tone, as only the voice of a sixteen-year-old can have. Vocabulary and syntax are appropriate for junior high school, exactly the right audience for this book, though older kids and adults will enjoy it too for its meticulous research and rousing storytelling.
Originality: Burrows has a real knack for making history come alive and seem relevant in the contemporary world.
Character Development/Execution: Chloe is a thoroughly three-dimensional character who is resourceful, intelligent, driven by the motivations that concern most teens, and funny. The other women, especially Millie, have distinct personalities, and the true personalities of other characters such as the hunk Toby are revealed in tantalizingly slow-motion as the story progresses.
Blurb: In her second YA Chloe Crandall adventure, Burrows has a real knack for making history come alive and seem relevant in the contemporary world.
Date Submitted: August 22, 2021