Eleven-year-old Katelyn has always heard voices and had visions. She's long suspected she is hearing from past lives. But when she runs away from home and hides out with an old friend in Vancouver, her visions become more real. She 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 must correct a wrong from the past.
When I first started reading this book, I assumed it was about older teens, maybe around sixteen or so. I was a bit surprised by how young the characters were. I was intrigued from the beginning of the book and read it straight through. I thought the premise was pretty cool . . . a girl writing in her diary in another language and as somebody else. That would be freaky for any one to deal with, but the character, Katelyn, is only eleven years old.
The story crosses over between Katelyn's life and the life of the girl writing in her diary, Akasha, who has been dead many many years. Katelyn has to deal with her mother taking her to psychiatrist, being institutionalized, being put in a temporary facility for girls, and meeting with social workers to determine if she is well enough to return to society. Akasha had to deal with her boyfriends overbearing father, an arranged marriage between her love, Sanjay, and a girl he had never met, an attempt to immigrate from their home country to Canada, and a horrible accident that changed their future forever.
Some of the scenes are pretty tough to read, especially some dealing with Akasha's life without Sanjay. Katelyn's life wasn't a picnic either. All she wanted was to prove that this was really happening to her, that Akasha was taking over her body and mind. In the end, everything works out for Katelyn and Akasha.
I found this book to be a really good read. I liked the historical aspects mixed with the modern world. The book has a satisfying ending that wraps up all the story lines. All in all, the book is well-written, the story evokes emotions, both good and bad, from the reader, lessons are learned, and everything works out in the end. I would rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.
I highly recommend getting a copy of this book for yourself and your middle school child.
To learn more about the author, Christine Hart, read on below: