Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review: The Yearbook by Carol Masciola

Misfit teen Lola Lundy has every right to her anger and her misery. She's failing in school, living in a group home, and social workers keep watching her like hawks, waiting for her to show signs of the horrible mental illness that cost Lola's mother her life. Then, one night, she falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library, where she's seen an old yearbook--from the days when the place was an upscale academy for young scholars instead of a dump. When Lola wakes, it's to a scene that is nothing short of impossible. Lola quickly determines that she's gone back to the past--eighty years in the past, to be exact. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, where Lola meets the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of '24. His face is familiar, because she's seen his senior portrait in the yearbook. By night's end, Lola thinks she sees hope for her disastrous present: She'll make a new future for herself in the past. But is it real? Or has the major mental illness in Lola's family background finally claimed her? Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into a romantic hallucination she created in her own mind, wishing on the ragged pages of a yearbook from a more graceful time long ago?

Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published November 15 2015 by Merit Press
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction  

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

My feelings about this book were all over the map. I'm not sure if I can properly explain in words how I felt about this book. I really liked the premise of the book but at the same time I had a hard time warming up to it.

I think my biggest problem with the story was Lola herself. As much as I wanted to I could not find it in myself to like her. Yes she had a troubled past but she was so nasty and indifferent to everything and everyone that crossed her path that she felt more like a bratty, entitled four year old instead of a sixteen year old. I understand that it was possibly intentional so that the reader could see how much nicer she was when she found herself in the past. When she found herself in the past she was much easier to take. The problem was that I disliked her so much at the beginning of the book that I had a hard time warming up to her when she got there. In fact, I hated pretty much all of the characters from the present but was quite fond of most of them from 1923.

I also struggled with the insta love and pull that Lola felt to the past after her initial stint there. It was so brief that I couldn't quite grasp it. I felt that there needed to be more development in both plot and characters in order to understand her extreme desire to go back and the depression that it caused her. It wasn't until Lola returned to the past and was there for a while that I was able to feel and route for the relationship between Lola and Peter.

However, I did find myself flying through the pages even though there were definitely things wrong with the book. Moral implications aside, I was still entertained and interested in knowing how it would all play out. I think young people may really enjoy this book although the cover is not one that would draw them in my opinion. It looks more like a historical book than a YA story about time travel and young love.

I think I am leaning on the generous side when rating this book only because of the appeal that I think it may have to the younger readers.

About the Author
Carol Masciola was a first-place winner of the PEN/West Literary Award in Journalism and a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register (California). Her feature screenplay The Fiery Depths, a supernatural thriller set in a haunted convent in the Alps, is in development with Clever Girl Productions, Los Angeles.

Connect with Carol


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