Jem, a Foreigner in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, thirteen years before the Revolution. Apprentice physician Jem Connolly sets sail for the New World to escape Patch—an agent for a Dark power that wants to drain Jem’s inherited magic, Second Sight—and to fulfill the prophecy of her mentor in magic, Granny Kestrel, that Jem will find her destiny in America. In London, 14-year-old Jem studied with Ben Franklin; in the Colonies, Jem will stay with his wife, Deborah, and their daughter, Sally. When Jem's ship lands in Philadelphia, she expects to find out right away what she’s supposed to do with her life. Instead, she clashes with a rude frontiersman, doctors the crew aboard a quarantined plague ship, battles a practitioner of voudon, and meets a mystic who takes her on a journey into a world that shimmers beneath our own, a world that connects to Jem’s visions. Jem wants to find her destiny—but where is she supposed to look?
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.25 out of 10
Plot: This vividly written piece of historical fiction is steeped in setting and driven by adventure and romance. Supernatural elements are woven throughout, but never stifle the more immediate and pervasive threats faced by colonial Americans.
Originality: Green delivers a distinctive blend of history, romance, and the supernatural, ultimately offering a memorable, wholly realized work of YA fiction with potential crossover appeal.
Prose: Exposition and dialogue are balanced nicely; descriptions are natural, evocative, and succinct.
Character Development: Green creates a range of enigmatic primary and secondary characters, including the gender nonconforming lead. Secondary characters, both friend and foe, historical and fantastical, provide texture to the narrative. Others embody the deterministic optimism of the American spirit.
Blurb: A top-notch historical fantasy that brings Colonial America to life in magical detail.
Date Submitted: May 29, 2018