Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Review: Seven Stories Up

Title: Seven Stories Up
Author: Laurel Snyder
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 240
Review Copy: Netgalley
Availability: January 28, 2014

Summary: In this companion to Bigger than a Bread Box, a leap back in time and an unlikely friendship changes the future of one family forever.

Annie has never even met her grandmother before. In fact, she’s never had much family to speak of. So when she and her mother pull into the drive of her grandmother’s home in Baltimore, Annie can hardly contain her excitement! But when she actually meets her grandma, the bitter old woman doesn’t seem like someone Annie could ever love, or miss. Until one magical, stormy night changes everything. It’s impossible that Annie could have jumped back in time. . . right? But here she is in 1937— the year her grandmother was just her age! Molly is an invalid. She lives by herself, on the top floor of a hotel. She seems a little lonely, but friendly and fun, nothing like the horrible old woman Annie just met. Annie entices Molly down from her room, and together the two girls roam. They sneak around the grand hotel, and explore the brick streets of old Baltimore. Carnivals and taxis, midnight raids on the kitchen. The two grow closer. But as Molly becomes bolder, and ventures further from the safety of her room, Annie begins to wonder how she’ll ever get back home. Maybe she’s changed the past a little too much. . .  -- Cover image and summary via IndieBound

Review: I fell in love with Seven Stories Up almost immediately. Laurel Snyder has a gift for bringing the reader right into her world. Like in Bigger than a Breadbox, there is an element of fantasy, but the story still seems very realistic because the characters are so vibrant. Annie can't connect with her cranky old grandmother, but when she goes back in time, she begins to see what led her grandmother to be so bitter. It is wondrous to watch their friendship develop. They both grow as they get to know each other.

Time travel books can be twitchy since changes in the past affect the future. I appreciated that Annie actually thinks about this as she is navigating life in the past. This brings a healthy dose of tension to the story that kept me reading.

Seven Stories Up manages to feel old-fashioned and wholesome without being too sweet. This is a book I will happily recommend. I look forward to re-reading it in January at release time and meeting Annie and Molly once again.

By the way, if you haven't read Bigger than a Breadbox - what are you waiting for? You do NOT need to read it first, but you are certainly missing out on an excellent book if you haven't read it. Here's the trailer.

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