Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)
In the spring of 1827, Misha Alexandrov arrives at Fort Ross as a ten-year-old orphan of a Russian father and an Aleut mother. Hated by the foreman for his half-breed heritage, he must prove his worth as a working member of the Russian American Company and overcome the perception that he brings with him "a bag of bad luck". On the remote coast of Alta California, a passion for the land takes root in his young heart, and he vows to do anything it takes to make the fortress colony his home. Misha Alexandrov, a middle grade novel from California's earliest days of European colonization, is a work of fiction in the style of Scott O'Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins), and Allan W. Eckert (Incident at Hawk's Hill). Students of California history will discover the fuller picture of Sonoma County's diverse culture.
Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.75 out of 10
In Tanaka's outstanding novel, 10-year-old Misha Alexandrov is orphaned and sets sail -- with his father’s friend Demitri -- to Alta, Calif., in 1827. The duo travel to Fort Ross to work, where Misha is challenged by foreman Tarasov, who calls him a half-breed and says he is bad luck because of his descent. The writing is fluid and engaging, allowing the reader to appreciate the history of Fort Ross, while the characters are fully realized and the book well plotted. The use of metaphor relays the book's strong message, making this story one to be used for discussion among readers.
Date Submitted: September 08, 2016