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An Unexpected Performance Kindle Edition
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|Length: 216 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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AN EXPECTED PERFORMANCE is an intriguing and insightful read for young adults and adults alike.
So initially I was quite intrigued as to what was going to happen to the main characters when they were transported. Who would they encounter, what would they do, how would they act? At first, both acted as I would expect. They were confused and a little in disbelief as to what happened. And of course once they met some people of that time they struggled just a bit to make themselves sound like they fit in. But after awhile I kind of expected them to acclimate at least somewhat to their surroundings. I mean, until they found out how to get back to their own time they would have to pretty much make the best of things. However, that took a little bit longer than I expected, well at least for CJ. Sometimes I felt she was a bit whiny, as if she was so used to our world that she really could not get used to theirs. Apart from her and Josh eventually being separated and her horror at being alone, but the people of that time treated her quite nicely. Well, those at the house she stayed at anyway. So I just felt she could have acted with a little more grateful of that fact and, again, made the best of things. However Josh, on the other hand, I kind of felt that he was right in his emotions. I mean the boy went through...well...you'll just have to read to find out.
But despite the excess emotions, the story was really good. I loved how detailed it was in regards to the Civil War Era portion. I also loved that there was kind of a story in a story. One that I believe connected both CJ and Josh's time with the time they are sent back to. I kind of want more now, because this story kind of left me hanging a little bit. I can just feel another story coming on, and I hope the author does too.
Submitted by Robert Sells, author of Return of the White Deer and Reap the Whirlwind.
Carly Jean (CJ) eases into a relationship with Josh, the "hottest guy" in Broken Branch High School. Not only good looking, Josh is also a top scholar and a wholesome young man. Kim Smith's novel, An Unexpected Performance, starts with them getting key roles in the school play about dashing young men and Southern bells gaily skipping through life. Right before the play starts, they kiss in front of a mysterious mirror hidden in a back room and are transported back into the latter days of the Civil War.
The transition from relatively trivial problems of the present to the harsh reality of the past jolts the reader. Right away, the pair is threatened with imprisonment or death. Only the quick thinking of first CJ and then Josh spares them. Throughout the novel, both are resourceful in dealing with the grim problems of a civilization that is gradually crumbling. While Josh is conscripted into service, CJ remains behind on a plantation robbed of its crops and depleted of its slave labor. To return to the present, CJ must find the same mysterious mirror in the past which transported them in their present. In the meantime, Josh struggles to simply stay alive.
Kim Smith's prose flows smoothly, her choice of words perfect and clear. Seen through the eyes of CJ and Josh, strong characters present themselves. My favorite was Jephrena, a former slave of a neighboring plantation. Daring and resourceful, she refused to submit to the white overseer who brutalized her parents. Because of her actions, she was doomed except for CJ's dogged determination.
In a few ways the novel parallels the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy yearns for adventure, but when confronted with its darker aspects, she wants only to return home. In the end, both CJ and Josh realize that, as imperfect as it is, there is "no place like home".
An Unexpected Performance would be an intriguing book for teenagers and young adults, especially those who want an intimate view of the difficulties in the South during the Civil War.
Without spoilers I thought the plot line was fun to read and I was never too sure what would happen next.
The author has an incredible talent and I will definitely be reading more books from her soon.