This is the kind of historical fiction/friendship story that a certain subset of kids, mostly girls, will devour. That subset never included me, so it's hard for me to judge the merits of the story. The interactions between the characters and the historical details are very realistic and make the story feel more, well, real. I wonder though, if the audience for this type of book isn't shrinking. It seems like more and more kids ask for contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy, adventure, etc. Historical fiction, especially this type of character-driven story, seems to be sinking in popularity. Unless it's based around major historical events, the more disastrous and exciting the better, it's a hard sell. It requires more empathy than many kids seem able to produce, especially when it features a child reconciling a difficult adult with the child they might have been.
Verdict: The writing is strong and the historical setting very well done. I'd call this a solid mid-list title. If you have kids who like this genre and the budget to support their interest, go for it. Otherwise it's an additional purchase. Snyder's Bigger than a Breadbox (which this is a sort of prequel to) did ok for us, not spectacularly, but enough to make this worth adding, so we'll just have to see.
ISBN: 9780375869174; Published 2014 by Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher