Passenger

Are you listening?

Let me tell you a story...

Let me tell you why I’m giving Passenger five bright, golden stars. 

I have seen reviews for this story jutting out over my Goodreads newsfeed during the last week, and I have heard the cries for more from some readers while I've simultaneously felt the frustration from others who could not help the way they felt the book teetered on for pages with no action. 

All readers are so different, and that’s why I love Goodreads so much. I love hearing why people didn’t enjoy a story when I so clearly did, and I hope others will give me the same respect. 

I expect that an author, one who graduated from The College of William Mary with a degree in History and English, would want to explain what is going on during the year her character slams into, especially if the year is 1776 and the beginning of the American Revolution. So while I, too, had to patiently wait for the sword fighting and blood and racing through time, I (personally) did not hold a grudge against the book for it. I began to enjoy the whispers of the history lessons I sat through in college.  

But that is not why I loved Passenger. 

Matthew Jobin wrote a stellar review of Passenger recently in the New York Times stating, "One of her [Etta’s] would-be captors forms the other pole of the drama. Nicholas Carter, who was born after a white man’s rape of his African slave, is as much the product of his time as of his difficult origin, capable of sudden violence but also easily able to quote both Voltaire and the Bible."

This adventure gets five stars from me because Alex Bracken is loudly breaking barriers like many Young Adult authors today, and I am so thankful for the writers who see the particular genders, ethnicities, and classes who are receiving the short end of the stick in literature, espeically when it comes to being the hero of the story. 

Nicholas is one of the most heartbreaking, lovely, and fierce characters I have met in a while, full of anger towards people while full of love and wonder for the world. I think it’s important to note that he never does get to relieve himself of the burden he will forever carry because of the color of his skin, and he doesn’t magically wake up and throw off the dirty looks he receives when he’s running through a crowd with Etta, but he wants to. He so badly wants to believe that the world will get better, and I so badly want that for him, too. 

And, so, I think Alex has perfectly set up the final book to be full of adventure and pirates and wonder, but I hope she doesn’t leave behind the lessons she gave me in this story.

“Do you remember…the couple in London, in the station?"

“The ones who were dancing?” she asked. “What about them?"

“Would we…be able to dance…that way?” he said, finding it harder to catch his breath. “In your time?"

Etta pressed her lips together, clearly fighting to offer him a smile. “Yes.” 

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