Excellent books are the hardest to review – all you really want to do is shove them into people’s hands and make them read. Add on the fact that this book has already received plenty of glowing reviews, and it becomes hard to say anything articulate and fresh about it.
A piece of history under-represented in children’s fiction? Check. A whole slew of believable and interesting characters, including one fantastic narrator? Check. A story that manages to cover the microcosm and the macrocosm at the same time, complete with good pacing, humor, the responsibilities of being the oldest child, issues of race, the thrill of adventure, and poetry? Check, check, check.
Just go read it already. If this doesn’t get some kind of shiny sticker come awards season, I’ll be surprised.