Around Winter Break 2016, everyone in English class had to read a book and could choose this one or two others. My teacher told me this would be my best option because it was very challenging and he knew I liked to read a lot of hard books. Eagerly, I picked it up and brought it home, having no idea what was in store for me.
I procrastinated the whole break and never read a single page. When I arrived back at school, I realized the deadline to finish reading the book was in a week. I figured I would be fine since it was only 200 pages and I could read it in a day, but I started reading that night to get it over with. After an hour and a half, I had only read 20 pages. The novel was so boring and had the worst vocabulary. I gave up and went to bed.
I was hit by a virus a little later in the week and had nothing else to do but read. It took me a whole day to read half, and when I stayed home the next day I finished the other half. It was ridiculous how long it took me, because I usually have a very fast pace. I’m so glad I didn’t read it the last day, like my friend. She read the book all night and when we arrived to English the next morning she had to turn the book in but she took pictures of the pages and finished reading on her phone.
Turner Buckminster and his parents just moved to Phippsburg, Maine, a town that meets the water. The town is incredibly racist and makes everything segregated. All the African Americans must stay on Malaga Island. It is also religious; Turner’s father is a reverend. Turner is struggling to make friends, until he one day meets young Lizzie Bright, who lives with her grandfather on the island. When people in town find out, Turner is forbidden to be friends with her. They still meet in secret and have a wonderful time together. As this is happening, the sheriff of Phippsburg forces everyone off of Malaga Island to a camp so he can make hotels and start a tourist company. Will Lizzie go? Will the sheriff succeed? Can Turner prove to everyone that the color of your skin means nothing?
I’ve got to be honest here, the book was the most depressing thing I’ve ever read. The author killed off almost every character in the story, and that kind of ruined it for me. Right when I was starting to bond with the characters, they were gone in an instant.
Also: I was mad that people found it acceptable that the book was stereotypical and racist because of it being written a while ago and taking place in the 19th century. I strongly disagree with them. Being racist is never acceptable. I don’t care if the book was written one day ago, or one century ago. There is no difference to me. As a proud feminist, this completely threw me off.
Overall, I give the book 1 star. I really didn’t like the plot and even though it took place a long time ago, the people were incredibly disrespectful. It was also very poorly written. If you ever come across this book, don’t read it.