Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mock Newbery: Victory by Susan Cooper

Title: Victory
Author: Susan Cooper
ISBN: 1416914773
Victory is two stories in one. The contemporary story is of a British teen (Molly) whose mother married an American with a son a few years ago, but now he is being transfered back 'home' to the states. So she and her mom have to pick up thier life and move to New England. The second story is that of Sam, a boy serving in the British navy in 1803 aboard the HMS VICTORY.

The two stories are linked through an old copy of a biography of the commander of the ship which Molly, the British teen, finds in an old used book store. In alternating chapters, the readers learn both Molly's and Sam's stories. Sam's story does seem to overwhelm Molly's at some points in the book. It just just that his story is much more dramatic and action filled while Molly's story is quieter.

The alternating chapters and time jumping did throw me off a bit. Every time I started to really get into the story of Molly or Sam the chapter would end and the book would jump back to the other. I almost wish the book was set up as all of Sam's story then Molly's or as 3/4 Molly's until the point where she and her Grandfather are visiting the Victory and then all of Sam's story was inserted there. Jumping back for the final 1/4 of Molly's wouldn't have been as jaring and I think it would still have made sense. That complaint aside, it was a great story about life changiing and dealing with it. I found the view point of Molly as an English girl trying to get used to America as a new home an interesting idea. I wish a bit more had ben done with that.

Overall, I found the book to be a unique look at outsiders trying to fit in and adjust to a new life. Even with it's weaknesses this book will easily make my top 10.
Star Review: Booklist May,
Revewer: Latricia Batchelor, Tenafly Public Library

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