Publishers Weekly Review
Latham's powerful second novel (after Scarlett Undercover) opens in present-day Tulsa, Okla., with the discovery of human bones beneath the floorboards of the Chase family's guesthouse. The police have little interest in identifying the skeleton or determining how it got there, but 17-year-old Rowan and her best friend, James, feel compelled to investigate. Nearly a century earlier, in 1921, 17-year-old William Tillman defies Tulsa's Jim Crow laws by selling a Victrola to a black teenager, Joseph Goodhope. Will grows to respect Joseph and becomes fond of his irrepressible younger sister, Ruby. When the Ku Klux Klan starts rounding up black people and burning their homes and businesses, Will is forced to make difficult decisions. Rowan and Will take turns narrating, their stories intertwining intriguingly as they unfold in parallel. Populated with vivid, relatable characters and structured to maximize mystery, tension, and dread, Latham's novel provides a gripping education in the real-life horror story that was the Tulsa race riot, shines a light on the current state of race relations, and inspires hope for the future. Ages 14-up. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-Latham follows up Scarlett Undercover with a rich work that links past and present in a tale that explores racial prejudice. After the remains of a skeleton are found in her Tulsa, OK, backyard, 17-year-old Rowan Chase becomes consumed with finding out the story behind the death. As she digs into the mystery, Rowan's contemporary perspective alternates with that of another Tulsa teen: Will, a 17-year-old in the 1920s. Though separated by decades, the characters' lives intersect as the mystery of the skeleton unfolds in both time periods. Race, social inequalities, and entitlement are subjects the teens grapple with as they enter adulthood, Rowan in the current day and Will during the Tulsa race riots of 1921. Latham's enthralling, expertly paced plot will keep readers engaged, and the detailed imagery creates a strong sense of place in both time periods. The occasional mature language is deftly integrated and realistic for both the situations and the protagonists, who are relatable and well-developed. VERDICT Mystery fans will enjoy this cleverly plotted, suspenseful work, while the broader social issues will draw a wide audience. Educators will also find this title useful as a selection for discussion and cross- curricular lessons.-Tiffeni Fontno, Boston College Educational Resource Center © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Rowan wants to enjoy one day of summer before her internship begins, but that ends when contractors working on her house find a skeleton in an outbuilding. Suddenly she's caught up in the mystery of who the dead man was, why he was killed almost a century before, and how his death relates to a brutal race riot that wiped out the black Tulsa neighborhood of Greenwood in 1921. Latham masterfully weaves together the story of two well-off, mixed-race teenagers Rowan, in the present, and Will, who lived in Tulsa in 1921 in this fast-paced, tension-filled look at race, privilege, and violence in America. Both struggle to do the right thing, even as Rowan tries to look past her family's wealth, and as the Klan begins to bear down on Will and his family. Latham skillfully uses the chapter-by-chapter narrator switch to ratchet up tension, all the while keeping readers guessing as to the true identity of the skeleton and to the ultimate fate of Will and the friends he helps save. This timely story gives readers an unflinching look at the problem of racism, both past and present, while simultaneously offering the hope of overcoming that hatred.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2016 Booklist