Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (January 22, 2013)
It is 1876, the year of the Centennial Exhibition (1st World Fair in US) in Philadelphia. Katherine has recently lost her twin sister Anna in a tragic skating accident. The loss haunts and threatens to suffocate her, and one wickedly hot September day, Katherine sets out for the exhibition grounds to end the life she no longer wants to live. But Katherine’s not as alone as she thinks, and a surprise encounter may just save her from her own tragic end. Filled with vivid detail and exquisite writing that artfully brings the past to life, National Book Award nominee Beth Kepart’s Dangerous Neighbors is a timeless and finely crafted novel about betrayal and guilt, hope and despair, love, loss, and new beginnings.
Wow! Even though I’m not a fan of historical fiction, the cover (isn’t it gorgeous?) and synopsis grabbed my attention. Even so, I went back and forth trying to decide whether to give it a try or not. I really thought it sounded good, but it was a historical fiction. Finally I said go for it, and am so glad I did.
The book started out interesting, and just kept getting better. The writing made me feel like I was there with Katherine and Anna. I could see the way Philadelphia looked during that time period, and everything became real to me. I felt sad when they did, and happy when they did.
I loved all the descriptions of the everyday items that are so different than what we have now. All the characters had different relationships with each other, which I loved.
One of the things that happened between Katherine and a girl she just met would never happen today, and I loved reading how life was back then, when those things could, and did, happen.
This is a quick read at only 192 pages, but it is packed with everything it needs to keep you glued to the pages. This was my first Kephart book, but it won’t be my last.
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