Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: One Traveler by Alison Treat

Summary/Cover Image from Author's Website:
In the spring of 1860, seventeen-year-old Sidney Judson loses his parents in a carriage accident. Although he thought of
himself as a grown man before their deaths, now he cannot bear to stay at the home he shared with them. He 
leaves Roswell, Georgia to journey north to his father’s hometown in Pennsylvania where he stays with his aunt and uncle, soon discovering that they are members of the Underground Railroad. While Sidney is facing the past his father tried 
to forget and coming to terms with his own role in his 
parents’ deaths, his entire belief system is challenged by 
the community around him. His attraction to the winsome Rachel further complicates his situation as her inner person far outshines that of his sweetheart in Georgia. The closer he grows to his northern family, the more he wishes he'd never promised to return to the south.

As soon as I saw that One Traveler was about Wilkes-Barre, a town about twenty minutes away from where I live, during the era of the Underground Railroad, I knew I had to give it a try. I was curious to see what a town that I have been to was like during this important time in American history. Luckily, Alison Treat managed to present Wilkes-Barre as well as surrounding areas in an interesting as well as informative way, and more importantly, she also presented an intriguing and well developed story.

One Traveler begins the story Sidney Judson, a wealthy southern teenager. Sidney's always lived a relatively easy life. He has friends that he can count on, a girl he's besotted with, and parents that he can always count on, even if they don't always agree with him. However, everything changes the night his parents are involved in a fatal carriage accident. Sidney becomes an orphan, and he doesn't know how to deal with the pain and loss he feels. All he knows is that he has to get away from the south for a while, and in order to carry out this task, he decides to go stay with his aunt and uncle in Wilkes-Barre, PA for a while. However, Wilkes-Barre isn't exactly everything he thought it would be. For one, he doesn't know how to feel about the north's views on slavery,  especially since they're so different from his on. Then there's his uncle and aunt who seem to know more about his parents than they're letting on. Plus there's a girl who is different from any he's known before, but he has a girl at home that he loves, right? What happens to Sidney? Only time and more pages can tell!

From the first page, I instantly liked Sidney. He was a sweet and kind boy, and even though he was from the 1800s, I feel that any teen can relate to his desire to fit in as well as figure out what he wants to do with this life. I know I did. What I liked most about Sidney's character, though, was that he made mistakes. He wasn't perfect. He sometimes said the wrong thing, and left his anger get the best of him, but that made him all the more real, in my opinion. I especially enjoyed reading about his conflicts about slavery. Alison presented his feelings in a thoroughly believable way, and really managed to use this conflict to further his character development. I also enjoyed the wide variety of side characters introduced in this as well. Sidney's aunt was an absolute doll as was their housekeeper. Plus, even though Sidney's uncle was a hard man, he was still someone I really enjoyed learning more about, especially when it came to his ties with the underground railroad.

The plot in this was also interesting. As mentioned before, One Traveler mostly has to do with Sidney's coming of age and deciding specifically what he wants to do with this life. Throughout the book he faces many challenges, all of which push him in new and challenging directions. These obstacles really managed to move the book along in a fast speed. Plus I enjoyed the focus on family in this one. I also liked the historical parts as well. I learned a lot about the underground railroad (who knew it was such a big thing in my area of PA! Never would have imagined it!) as well as the start of the civil war.

Alison's writing was also done well. I thought she did a great job of presenting the setting and historical aspects as well as creating the characters. The only thing I wasn't big on, though, was how slow the book moved at times, but besides that One Traveler was a great debut.

In all, One Traveler is an interesting coming-of-age tale, perfect for fans of historical fiction or books involving boy POVs.  

Grade: B

One Traveler (Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Goodreads) is now out!

Source: PDF provided by author 

In case you missed it: I interviewed Alison last week. You can check it out HERE

1 comment:

  1. I like historical fiction of all kinds, so this one sounds really interesting. Sydney sounds like a great character, and I am glad he is likable. The Underground Railroad aspect also really interesting! I might check this one sometime. Great review :)


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