3 out of 4 stars
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It is difficult to imagine a time other than our own when girls got married in their teenage years, immediately had babies, and stayed home to care for their families. This is far different than Abby Whittier’s modern-day life as a fifteen-year-old focused on getting good grades and a high SAT score. Abby is an incredibly driven, honest, well-behaved young lady who does everything she can to thrive and build a life of success for herself. She feels like her life is on a steady track until her parents uproot her from Las Vegas to Massachusetts. Abby doesn’t anticipate the speed with which she comes to happily call Massachusetts home. She also could never have anticipated taking a step back in time where a young man thinks she is an Abby Whittier from more than 200 years in the past. Abby is drawn to this young man and the historical setting in which his life takes place. She can’t imagine leaving her new friends and parents behind, but there is something incredibly compelling about Nathaniel, who calls to her from beyond the stone wall. The Stone Wall Crossing is an appropriate name for Alice Schellhorn Magrane’s novel as a historical stone wall serves as a gateway to the past.
The story mostly centers around Abby’s move to Massachusetts and the typical struggles that teenagers encounter during high school. The reader gets to experience the anxiety about making new friends, the excitement of learning how to drive, and the thrill of dating for the first time all through Abby’s eyes. The story is written from Abby’s perspective in a conversational tone. The thoughts sound fitting for someone of Abby’s age; it is almost written like a diary. The style of the writing is informal but incredibly appropriate for the perspective offered. I thought Abby’s thoughts flowed really well throughout the entire book.
What is unique about this story is Abby’s limited ability to travel back in time. While walking her dog, she stumbles across a particular spot that allows her to travel back to that same spot immediately prior to the American Revolution. Abby’s interest in American history is sparked by this ability which gives Magrane’s readers a few bits of information about historical events leading up to the creation of the United States as a country. Those facts were just another aspect of the book I really enjoyed.
Abby is physically drawn to the past as well as seeking it out in history books. She finds Nathaniel and his life so intriguing she experiences a great deal of inner turmoil about whether or not the modern life she is leading is the right one for her. She has a mature response to her time travel that I greatly admired. The choices she makes throughout the entire book make her an excellent role model for teen readers. I think any teenager who loves a bit of romance, a spark of the paranormal, and time travel in his or novels would really like this book. For them, I believe reading The Stone Wall Crossing would be like talking to a friend.
I highly recommend this book to teen readers as it is written with an easy flow, the storyline is enjoyable, Abby is a relatable character and a great role model, and the story wraps up in a way that should satisfy the average reader. The only thing I can say against Ms. Mangrane’s novel is that it could use an editor who has a good grasp on the proper use of commas. There are too many missing commas to easily overlook, forcing me to rate The Stone Wall Crossing 3 out of 4 stars when I would have happily given it 4.
The Stone Wall Crossing
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