Title: Destiny Rewritten
Genre: Fiction, Realistic, Families, Dreams, Books/Writing, Fate, Secrets
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Ages: 4th-7th grades
From the Publisher:
Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn't even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then, just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she loses the special volume of Emily Dickinson's poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily's understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.
This is a book review for 5th grade me. I grew up in the era where the only books in my elementary school library that interested me were Nancy Drew, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Little House on the Prairie, and everything written by E.L. Konigsburg. And I'm sure that I read more than one Choose Your Own Adventure. From here I went straight to Agatha Christie (mainly because there wasn't an entire publishing industry devoted to "teen" books).
There are many other books that were probably sitting on the shelves that I honestly wish I had discovered at the time, and not when I was "old" (Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series for one), but believe it or not, I didn't devour everything on the the library shelves back then. I stuck with what was familiar and proven. (This might be why, when I have a student today that reminds me of "me," I am sometimes known to say, "you will read this because I said so").
I also grew up in the era of Danielle Steele novels turned into made-for-TV movies, and I hope it doesn't make me sound lame to admit that I'm pretty sure I watched most of them
All of these things explain why I LOVE this book by Fitzmaurice and am buying a copy of it for my going-to-be-6th grade daughter.
I truly enjoyed Emily's narration of this book...it read true, like an actual 11 year old. She introduces us to a cast of quirky characters (most of which are her family), and her daily journey. All she wants to do is write romance novels (her correspondence with Danielle Steele almost "steal the show" for me) and find her father. When it is discovered that her cherished book of Dickinson poetry, which accidentally found it's way into the Goodwill box, actually contains clues to her father's identity, she is propelled on a quest to retrieve it.
I love Emily, and I think that tween readers will also. You can't help but root for her...and maybe get a little angry at a mother that won't give up family secrets except via musings in book margins. (And there's a similar history of this in my family, so another reason why I feel so in tune with this book). Emily's story of self-discovery, family, friendship, and making your own fate is one that will resonate with younger readers. I know that 5th grade me would have found a new friend in Emily...and would have desperately wanted to help her find her book.