Title: Emeline – A Journey
Author: Kathy J. Perry
Major Themes: Pioneers
Synopsis: When she was left orphaned, 13-year-old Emeline had to make a courageous journey from Missouri to Boston to find her grandfather.
I rarely read Young Adult books. Almost all that I have seen have to do with romance, include too much sensual matter, or are fantasy, time travel, or some weird futuristic story. I tend to greatly prefer realism, and I don’t think Young Adults need romance. When I read the description of Emeline – A Journey, I was attracted to it because it sounded different. I was not disappointed by the content!
Emeline loved to spend time with her teacher, who reminded her of her mother, who had passed away in childbirth two years ago. Talking about her mother helped so much! Then, one morning, Emeline woke up to find her father dying. His final words to her sent her on a journey across ten states, from Missouri to Boston, to find her grandfather. How could a 13-year-old travel that far alone?
Emeline learned survival skills from Ole Mr. Thompson, and then took off on her horse. When one man after another tried to rob her, and someone finally succeeded in knocking her out, she found herself in the home of the Witherspoons in Indiana. She lived with them for a time to earn money for a train ride to Boston, learning the skills of woodturning, and then finished her journey. Once in Boston, she learned about lithography from her father’s family. Then, where should she go? Should she stay in Boston, or return to the wide-open spaces of the West, where her heart was? All along the way, Emeline spent time reading her Bible, and journaling her thoughts. She learned to depend on God to care for her.
I really liked the content of Emeline – A Journey. It describes life in a simpler time, and shows a girl who has been left alone in the world making the best of what she had, learning to make her own decisions. On the other hand, the writing style could definitely be improved; it felt a bit amateurish. Also, it did not feel realistic that she hardly showed any grief when her father died. She was sad, but quickly got up and going again, never crying much at all. I did appreciate that this book doesn’t portray a girl who can do everything; she knows she needs help from adults, and readily accepts help and advice. I also really liked that there is no romance, other than a few hints that Emeline liked the apprentice at the Witherspoons. I can highly recommend this book for those in the 12-16-year-old group, and I may end up reading it aloud to my children sometime.
I received a review copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Read Aloud—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15