Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Lost Girl of Astor Street: A Book Review

Hey, Guys. Still not a lot of writing news to share, but I have loads of books to share! One of my favorite reads this Winter (so much so that I've been reading it to my mom) was The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill. I received this book in the mail in exchange for my honest review.

Lydia has vanished.

Lydia, who’s never broken any rules, except falling in love with the wrong boy. Lydia, who’s been Piper’s best friend since they were children. Lydia, who never even said good-bye.

Convinced the police are looking in all the wrong places, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail begins her own investigation in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. With the reluctant help of a handsome young detective, Piper goes searching for answers in the dark underbelly of 1924 Chicago, determined to find Lydia at any cost.

When Piper discovers those answers might stem from the corruption strangling the city—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

From the glitzy homes of the elite to the mob-run streets of 1920s Chicago, Stephanie Morrill’s jazz-age mystery shows just how far a girl will go to save her friend.

A well-written mystery is a good thing. A well-written mystery in the Jazz Age? Even better.

If you can't tell, I adore the YA genre. Though I'm now twenty-one, I still love to read a well-written young adult novel, often more than their adult counterparts. It may be because I mainly write young adult. Whatever the reason, I'm so excited to see a young adult historical mystery novel. Maybe I'm just missing something, but I haven't seen too many of these in recent years, so that already made me anticipate this novel.

Let's look at the elements of this novel.

The Cover

Maybe I just love all covers (doubtful?), but I do adore this one. Blue and green are some of my favorite colors, so their presence n this covers probably makes it more attractive to my eye. Still, I think this cover is nice. The greenish sky is a nice contrast to the standard sky-blue and Piper's inclusion doesn't feel too staged. I'm rather glad she is seen from a side view. I also like the buildings in the background. A really nice cover.

The Characters

Okay, I'll be honest. These days when I hear the words "strong female character" I often want to roll my eyes. Okay, we get it. The main character is tough, can do big things, and can do it alone if necessary. Maybe that's just how I see it. The strong female character clones often seem to be so similar and unrealistic. 

That's why I love how Piper Sail turns that stereotype on its head. Yes, she is a strong female character, but she is also weak. She is human. She has many strong character traits. She is determined, a wonderful friend, and brave. She also has negative aspects that reveal the utter humanness of her. She can't do everything alone. Sometimes she does foolish things, even if they are for the right reasons. She needs help. And there is nothing wrong with that. Piper is better when she has support, and what can be truer than that?

There were several characters in this book of note aside from her heroine, including the many men in her life. We have her brother, Nick, and her dad. In somewhat larger roles, we have Jeremiah Crane, a suave newspaper man who I sort of adored, as well as Walter, Piper's best friend, the son of the housekeeper. Lastly, we have Cassano, a young police detective who has some obvious chemistry with Piper. (I would argue that Jeremiah also has obvious chemistry, but you should read the book). Each of these characters was unique and well-developed. I loved the supporting cast. The missing Lydia was also an important player, literally affecting almost every part of the story. The characterization was great.


The plot is probably one of my favorite things about this book. At times misleading, at times heartbreaking, at time romantic, the storyline sews everything together quite nicely. There were twists to be found (one big shocker about halfway through the book) but also some calms in the storm involving sweetness. This is Stephanie Morrill's first historical and I think she did such a fine job. I love it and I really really hope we get to see more Piper Sail in the future!

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