Young Adult Literature


The Traitor's Gate
by Avi


From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 5-9–Avi returns to the 19th century in this novel of traitors, spies, family, and even love. John Huffam's father works as a clerk in the Naval Ordinance Office in London, and he is suspected of trying to sell a secret about a new weapon to pay his gambling debts. When he is arrested as a debtor, 14-year-old John, the sensible member of his family, must seek financial help from a distant relative, leave school for employment, and unravel the mystery surrounding his father and try to find out why so many people are spying on the Huffams. The novel perfectly captures John's passage from naive boy to disillusioned young man, as his world crumbles when he sees his father more clearly. He develops an unlikely friend, partner, and even romance with the slippery orphan, Sary the Sneak, whose motives sometimes seem as suspect as the many other characters involved. This is a Victorian tale charmingly told in Victorian fashion. Avi's love of the period is evident in how vividly, and without romanticizing, he brings London, teeming with eccentric characters, smells, and sounds, to life. Indeed, the city becomes a central character. With plenty of period detail, this action-packed narrative of twists, turns, and treachery is another winner from a master craftsman.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.