A Little About The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis:
Fear can be the current that threatens to pull you under or simply a challenge to test us and be overcome…
Elle Thornton’s debut novel reintroduces us to an important time in America where the seeds of social transition were beginning to sprout. It happens that our 12 year-old main character, Gabriella is also in the early stages of her own important transition. Gabriella begins the story a child but with the help of caring mentors and her own inquisitive nature, she may learn to see beyond herself and her fears to truly know how to love and embrace compassion. It’s this racially charged atmosphere of the 1950s and the tragic death of the young Emmett Till that test Gabriella’s courage. She will either stand against this society’s nefarious elements, who threaten to tear her from those she cares for, or be swept away by the fear of their bigotry and hate.
What I appreciate most is Thornton’s dedication to doing the research needed to make this story a quality work of historical fiction. The detail of that ground work is evident in the dialogue and throughout the plot. She accurately depicts a military struggling to set new standards for integration in a way that credits the actions of brave men rather than simply checking it off to social experimentation as some historians would have us believe. Thornton puts a human face and feelings behind the norms of a time that separated people of differing races and clearly articulates the danger faced by those who would entertain ideas of change and equality.
The writing is very good and the editing is also exceptional. She clearly defines her characters and does an amazing job developing her primary cast in very few pages. This is a story that will pull you in emotionally and dare you to pause for even a moment. The plot is driven by her character’s desperate search for the love that seems just out of reach and the fear of daring to embrace change and transition. Thornton has written a story with people you will care about and their story drives you to read on in one sitting.
My only complaint is that the very end seemed either a bit rushed or too edited, which could perhaps have been remedied with a few more pages. Still, this is the very kind of story fit for the big screen and one with a timeless and important message of sacrifice, love and courage and easily worthy of a 4.7 star rating. Though it’s listed as a YA, I’d certainly encourage adults to give this a read as well.
About the Author:
Elle Thornton grew up on military bases in the south and west of the 1950s. She spent time as a news writer, a technical writer for a major computer company and later a marketing writer for another international corporation. Thornton earned a graduate degree in English and began to study and write poetry and fiction along with teaching. To date, some of her poetry has been published in small journals. The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis is Thornton’s debut novel.
What People Are Saying About The Girl Who Swam to Atlantis:
” This is a well written, powerful debut novel that echos the theme and texture of To Kill A Mockingbird.” – Tom Lowe
“ This is a Y-A novel that can be read and discussed by the entire family. There are lessons to learn here and historical incidents that need to be remembered. “ – Faye Heath
“ I thought this was a good book that touched on some powerful issues such as racism and family dynamics. You could not help but to want to hug Gabriella and the author should be commended on bringing forward such complex issues in this short yet powerful book. ” – Vicki
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Tom Clementson (Kindle Book Review)