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Summary: 'As I swiped my screen and found myself at the end of the book, I felt as if I had left a little piece of myself between the pages holding on to find out what happens next. I am looking forward to part three.'
In 'A Wish Before Midnight', we read about Genna's (a fifteen-year-old modern-day Brooklyn resident) experiences traveling in time to Civil War-era Brooklyn. 'The Crossroads' begins with Judah’s story and we learn what happens to him when he follows Genna (his girlfriend) into the past and finds himself sold into slavery. His experiences as an enslaved person are impacted by the fact that he is a modern-day teen who has been free in relative terms all of his life and by the fact that he knows how this particular chapter in history ends. His reaction to the conditions of his enslavement are juxtaposed against the views and attitudes of those he meets who have been enslaved all of their lives. There is no significant judgement of either position. The book presents a large cast of characters of a wide variety of races with equal numbers of sympathetic and unsavoury characters in each racial group.
The book is fast paced and action packed. At the end of Judah’s journey from enslavement to freedom I felt as if I had read my money’s worth, but I was only one-third way through the book. I won’t say more about the plot because doing so will ‘spoil’ both 'A Wish Before Midnight' and 'The Door at the Crossroads,' but needless to say Judah’s freedom from slavery is not the end of his journey through this story.
'The Crossroads' is full of action yet character-driven. We meet a large cast of characters who are deep; recognizable and likable in their flaws; and realistic in their reactions to each other and their circumstances. Even as we see Judah espouse judgments which may seem questionable to many, we don’t hate him, instead we root for him to recognise his misdirection.
'The Door at the Crossroads' chronicles a particularly difficult period in the history of African-Americans. It does so without being heavy handed or didactic; instead we see the events through the narrative and the characters. I have not done any fact checking, however, it is clear that the historical background has been well-researched and while the story and characters are fictional, the author paints a believable historical backdrop to the story.
I did question the consistency of the motives of one or two of the characters and there were one or two times when I found it difficult to follow the thread of the timeline, however, this was minor.
As I swiped my screen and found myself at the end of the book, I felt as if I had left a little piece of myself between the pages holding on to find out what happens next. I am looking forward to part three.
The book stands alone, however, I recommend reading both books.
This is a sequel to A Wish After Midnight and both are excellent. I am not one to read time travel books usually, but these both had me enthralled. For one thing, the travel takes them back to history that I was not familiar with so it was informative as well as engrossing. The complex characters were also intriguing. I have been recommending this and the first book over and over again.
Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2016
This is a big thoughtful and intense book about both life in the slavery period in the US and also in the post-9/11 era. The characters, who were first introduced in A WISH AFTER MIDNIGHT (and you really need to read that book first), are separated this go-round with one returned to the present and one still lost in the past.
I can't stress enough how intense the book is - Elliott doesn't sugarcoat a second of what slavery was like.
It's a big book but an important read. I hope publishers take note of what Elliott is doing and give her a contract so she has an even bigger platform to stand on for her work.