School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-It's the early 1900s and 16-year-old Essie Rosenfield works tirelessly at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Manhattan, but her meager wages are hardly her biggest problem. After she befriends the mysterious new girl, she learns that Harriet is a runaway and an heiress. Uncertain about revealing the girl's secret and thus losing a friend, Essie finds herself torn between what she believes is wrong and what she can't accept-the truth of her own sister's disappearance. When a devastating fire ravages the factory, Essie is too late in realizing that money isn't as important as family and friends. The chapters flip from Essie's past recollections with her sister to her present friendship with Harriet. Once the rhythm is understood, this unusual pacing adds depth and intrigue as the plot unfolds. There are many layers to this story, which will appeal to a variety of interests and age levels.-Kimberly Monaghan, formerly at Vernon Area Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list Essie lives a hardscrabble life with her widowed mother and younger siblings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s. The grim specter of poverty always hovers, yet Essie's spirit, her talent for creating beautiful hats, and her bountiful love for her little sister Zelda help to imbue their lives with joy and positive energy. As chapters alternate between earlier and later settings, we follow Essie to work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. The plot builds and so does a gradual awareness of cracks in Essie's grasp of reality. She is in denial about an accident that has taken Zelda's life, and she pursues a friendship with the mysterious Harriet Abbott, who shows up to work at the Triangle but does not seem at all like a typical working girl. Davies weaves two historic events the disappearance of a wealthy heiress escaping family scandal and the catastrophic Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, graphically depicted into a lively tale of striving, unspeakable loss, and an eventual life-affirming resolution.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.