book review

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

I read this book because of the book trailer. It’s stunning, it’s got a gorgeous soundtrack and it should really be made into a film! You can find the book trailer here

Passenger is the first in a duology by the amazing YA author, Alex Bracken. Both books are out, the second is Wayfarer which I’ve already got on my bookshelf ready as my next read.

Passenger opens in modern day New York and follows the story of Etta, a talented young violinist who is about to perform at the Met. She’s sacrificed everything to get better, to be better and I’m sure this will resonate with a lot of young people, the demands and expectations of the school system are very high if you want to be the best.

Without giving too much away, Etta finds herself onboard a ship in 1776, bound for New York and meets Nicholas, a young captain. She’s lost, she’s confused and she just wants to get back home, but it’s not as simple as that. She finds herself on a mission that crosses times and continents to find an object, with Nicholas at her side.

The slow build love story between Etta and Nicholas is beautiful, they’re from different times, have completely different experiences of living on the same continent and yet they are meant for each other. When it’s done well, I will read a book for the love story alone, and Bracken doesn’t only create the perfect romance, she also creates an all consuming, fast paced plot.

I cannot believe the amount of research she must have put in, she refers to historical events all over the world and really immerses you in each time period and culture – from a ship in 1776 bound for New York to blitz London to 1599 Damascus, she makes all of these times seem so real. If every child could be handed this book at school, I think we would have classrooms full of children eager to learn about history, about sociology, about anthropology and about creative writing.

The other part that is well researched is how both Etta and Nicholas are treated in each time period, the biases towards a young black man and a girl travelling through different cultures. Bracken has said in interviews that she researched the way they would have been treated by reading journals and first hand accounts from each time period. She brings this all to life in such a smart and considerate way, paving the way for more discussion and more reflection.

This book is marketed as YA but as with many books in this age category, it transcends the usual teen audience, smashes the glass ceiling and appeals to a wide reaching audience all across the world.

If you like spectacular settings, a great love story and are intrigued by the concept of time travel in a book, then this is for you! You can find it here




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