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A middle grade fiction story based on real life events in a dark moment of Canadian history. Find out more about the story and check out an excerpt. Then get your own copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and see what you think compared to my review. Be sure to leave a comment for the author and to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!
Secrets From MyselfTwelve-year-old Katelyn has always heard voices and had visions. She's long suspected she was hearing from past lives. But when she runs away from home and hides out with an old friend in Vancouver, things become more real. She even finds herself writing the words of someone else in a diary - the words of someone whose fate was deeply impacted by the Komagata Maru incident.
As Katelyn learns more about the Komagata Maru and the person communicating with her, she realizes that she has a task to fulfill that will correct a wrong from the past.As Katelyn learns more about the Komagata Maru and the person communicating with her, she realizes that she has a task to fulfill that will correct a wrong from the past.
Read an excerpt:
MY TURN IN the shower has been bumped to after dinner because of my tardy return from the Drive. I don’t like going to bed with wet hair and the house hairdryer is broken. I’ll just have to deal. But after a truly brain-blending afternoon, I decide sleeping with wet hair isn’t something worth complaining to Mariah about.
I draw the curtain and turn the shower to mostly hot. I peel off my tank top and denim shorts. I step inside the steamy enclosure and pick up the communal shampoo bottle, cursing myself for not picking up some of my own toiletries during one of my brief outings.
As I work the foamy soap through my hair, my arms start to feel chilly. I turn the water all the way to hot. Stupid small hot water tank. They’re supposed to be housing half a dozen girls here. Can’t they do better?
The water starts to scald my skin, but the air around me is still cold. I start to feel nauseous. I need to sit down. Now. I flick off the shower head and sit down in the shower, hugging my knees for warmth. It’s no good.
I pull the shower curtain back to grab a towel. I look over at the bathroom mirror and scream. It’s not me! It’s HER! Akasha’s face stares back at me from behind the condensation on the wet glass. Several lines are written in characters I don’t recognize.
The book's description made my inner middle grade mystery lover squeal in excitement. I lived to read these kinds of stories when I was younger and I kind of thought of something like The Dollhouse Murders, which was one of my favorites.
This one took me a little while to get into. I felt like it started a little slow and I wasn't really sure what was happening. For some reason, I kept thinking of Girl, Interrupted with Katelyn being hospitalized and then moved to a group home as the doctors of various disciplines were trying to figure out what was wrong with her. I almost forgot that Katelyn was only 12 years old, because she presented as someone a lot more mature. I admit I also had a hard time reading a story written completely in present tense and first-person. That kind of narrative isn't my personal favorite, but I know a lot of people who love that.
Once the story got going and Katelyn was having more interactions with the spirit of Akasha and finding out more about the history, I got more into the story and wanted to know what happened and why there was this connection between the two girls in different times. I kept thinking of Harry Potter every time Katelyn's hand was possessed and Akasha's words came out of her. The resolution was an interesting one that I honestly didn't see coming with the way that the story was panning out.
I honestly felt like the whole halfway house thing was a little odd and parts of the story could have been developed differently, but it was still an interesting story. I especially appreciated it more after I read the blurb about the real history behind the story, on which this fictional account is based. I would love to find out more about it, because I am a fan of history. Had I read it back in elementary school, I quite likely would have done one of my monthly reports on the real story of the Komagata Maru.
I would recommend this book to older middle grade readers who like a bit of the supernatural mixed in with their history.
About Christine Hart
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband and our two energetic children.
Christine Hart will be awarding a paperback bundle of backlist titles: Stalked, Best Laid Plans, and Watching July (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow along for even more chances to win!
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