From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8AEighth-grader Violet, a triplet, is fragile and plain compared to her two popular sisters. Suddenly, she begins discovering mysterious messages from the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Old letters and diary entries refer to a girl named "V," who strangely resembles Violet herself in the 1990s, and there are hints that something terrible happened to "V" nearly 100 years ago. As the clues build up, Violet gradually figures out that she is being sent a warning from the past and fears for her life. The messages make Violet stand out from her sisters, and she discovers strength and resourcefulness she never knew she had. The story begins slowly as the various plot elements are laid out. As the clues start to come together, Violet's experiences become more absorbing. The repeated discoveries she makes seem too unlikely and coincidental at first, but when she learns that a force from the past has planted them in her way, it all makes sense. There is true excitement by the climax, as Violet discovers that the Golden Gate Bridge may collapse in a quake, and only she can prevent a tragedy. The resolution is particularly satisfying, as Violet not only saves the day, but resists the temptation to brag about her secret heroism. Although the protagonist is not a fully drawn character, this title should have strong appeal for fans of fantasy, ghosts, and time travel. Readers who persist through the slow beginning will be rewarded with an absorbing and suspenseful adventure.ASteven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-6. Violet has always felt like the odd man out. One of triplets, she is the nonidentical sister, the frail and sickly one, and now, as an eighth-grade student in Berkeley, California, she's the one who's deathly afraid of earthquakes. Then fate singles Violet out in a new way: she's the one who starts dreaming of saving children in an earthquake and who keeps stumbling upon letters, diary pages, and newspaper articles concerning three young people in 1906, the time of the last big quake. Although the present-day characters keep remarking on the many coincidences that bring the documents into Violet's hands, their comments do little to lessen the plot's dependence on coincidence to drive the narrative. Readers willing to overlook that weakness will find plenty to keep them involved in the novel: Violet's well-drawn relationships with her sister, best friend, and first boyfriend; her insecurities that give way to emerging confidence; and a story that dramatizes the past a bit melodramatically but ties it to a more intriguing present. Carolyn Phelan