Some stories need to be told. When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past... Read more...
Some stories need to be told. When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past... and the present. Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what's right the night Tulsa burns. Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham's lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important questions about the complex state of US race relations - both yesterday and today.
- ISBN-13: 9780316384933
- ISBN-10: 0316384933
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: February 2017
- Page Count: 384
- Reading Level: Ages 13-17
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.06 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Lathams powerful second novel (after Scarlett Undercover) opens in present-day Tulsa, Okla., with the discovery of human bones beneath the floorboards of the Chase familys 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 Tulsas 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, Lathams 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 14up. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Feb.)
Sins of the past
In 1921, a rash argument over a pretty girl propels 17-year-old Will Tillman into a hotbed of racial tension in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As he begins to understand what Jim Crow really means, he faces difficult decisions between what is expected and what is right. Nearly 100 years later, 17-year-old Rowan Chase discovers a skeleton under the floorboards of her family’s backhouse. As she investigates the murder, she learns firsthand that history isn’t entirely in the past.
The author of Scarlett Undercover, Jennifer Latham doesn’t shy away from the hard truth in her new historical novel, Dreamland Burning. The two protagonists take parallel journeys as they unwittingly step outside their lives of relative privilege and open their eyes to the grim realities of their respective societies. And what makes these characters so special is that they’re nothing special. Rowan and Will and their friends, even more richly developed in Will’s chapters than Rowan’s, are honest renderings of young people experiencing and navigating injustice for the first time.
Dreamland Burning is a critical look at race relations today, bringing to light the abuses we often pretend disappeared with Jim Crow, but that we must face head-on if we want to continue moving forward as a society. Latham’s prose will captivate readers from start to finish as she moves seamlessly back and forth between Will’s difficult coming of age and Rowan’s discovery of what history left behind.