Summary from Goodreads: American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in Fourteenth-Century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the Fourteenth Century and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.
I've been a big fan of Lisa Bergren's books for years. I can't remember exactly which was the first book of hers that I discovered but I know that I've enjoyed every book of hers that I've read. My particular favorite is her Gifted series. That being said, when I heard that she was putting out a YA series, I will admit I was a little skeptical. This is not because I doubt her writing skills. It's because a lot of Christian authors who decide to write YA after writing adult fiction tend not to know how to write YA. And the main reason is that they don't read YA on a normal basis. And when they do, they tend to stick with Christian YA for their examples. And (yes I'm using And as a first word a lot here) while there are good examples of Christian YA, in order to get a real knowledge of how to write to a YA audience, you need to read ALL types of YA. So I was worried that this series would feel out of touch for the general YA audience.
I was dead wrong. Not only has Bergren written a wonderful story, but I really feel that all audiences will enjoy this book. There's time travel, historical events, sword fights, jousting, hot guys, what more could you want? The story starts off in the contemporary but then switches over to historical as our heroines find themselves traveling through some weird time warp that's taken them back to 14th century Italy. Gabi has to worry with dealing with this sudden change plus finding her sister who got separated from her.
If there's anything to nitpick at all about the story it's that Gabi seemed to adapt very very quickly to her new surroundings and lifestyle. She seems like a mature teenage girl and that's fine. I just felt that she immediately accepted everything and played along even though obviously something strange and unnatural has just happened. I just don't think that many teens would have done that. It seemed a bit unrealistic. But then again, this story involves time travel so why am I saying this bit is unrealistic?
Even though this book comes from a Christian publishing house, the faith aspect in this book is very minimal. I do not think that anyone who reads this that is not of the Christian faith would get offended or feel that they were getting preached at while reading. Any references or mentions of God, faith, or religion are keeping with the time period when it would have been historically inaccurate to not bring it up. Gabi's faith didn't seem to be that big of an issue or at least it didn't to me. I just hope that general market YA fans/bloggers are being targeted this book and not just Christian fiction readers (especially adult readers who say I never read YA but I did because Lisa wrote it. I want actual teens and YA fans to read it!).
Bergren's writing is what ultimately wins me over with this story and I found myself eagerly turning pages to find out what was going to happen with Gabi and Lia. My favorite literary device were the scenes when Gabi is floating in and out of consciousness and only brief sentences would take up a single page. It felt just like I was reading Gabi's fleeting thoughts and only able to grasp a little bit at a time. It's very well done and I cannot wait until I get a hold on Cascade. I'm also very pleased to know that Bergren has done her research and is currently reading general market YA books as we speak. Well done! If you like YA, any type of YA this is the book for you. HIGHLY recommended.
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren is published by David C. Cook (2011)
This ARC was provided by the Amazon Vine program