Young Adult Literature


Beyond the Western Sea: Book Two: Lord Kirkle's Money
by Avi


From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9?This sequel to Beyond the Western Sea: Book One (Orchard, 1996) continues the adventures of Patrick and Maura O'Connell and their friends Mr. Horatio Drabble and Laurence Kirkle as they sail to America. This book begins with the four on-board ship, with Laurence a stowaway and Maura, Patrick, and Mr. Drabble traveling in steerage. True to its Dickensian flavor, the villains are also on board. On arrival in Boston, all end up in the mill city of Lowell, MA. Patrick and Maura's father has died and the children find themselves facing anti-Irish sentiment, a greedy mill owner, poverty, inhuman working conditions, and, of course, all the villains. The action jumps back and forth from one person to another as their paths cross and recross. All characters "coincidentally" come together at the climax and the villains are vanquished. This is a well-written, but overly ambitious work that suffers from an overabundance of characters. The lack of a major hero and a primary villain fragments the work. Character development is minimal and the many different plots stop and start so often that the focus is lost. Avi's ability to use words and dialogue to develop a strong sense of time and place is evident and his theme that all people are created equal and that evil cannot be blamed on anything but evil individuals is strongly and clearly presented. For that reader who enjoys a well-written historical novel and who will not be deterred by the two-volume length or the complexity of the plots, this will satisfy if not excite.?Wendy D. Caldiero, New York Public Library
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.