These books really have nothing in common except that I read them at the same time. For conventional reviews with plot summaries, click here for What I Saw and here for Year of Wonders. I don't do much summary in my reviews because personally I like to know very little of the plot when I start reading. Most of the time it serves me well. With Jellicoe Road, not so much. I should've made a character map with that one.
What I Saw is a period piece; it's set in Florida post WWII. The setting is vivid, as are the characters. Most of the action takes place in a short piece of the book, but it's a good read if you like girl-coming-of-age in an interesting situation, and the building up and working out of the climactic scenes are well done. Subject matter appropriate for teens who can deal with mature themes--nothing is explicit, but much is implied.
Year of Wonders is a truly great book. Brooks is a great author, with many interesting titles to her name. This one is pure historical fiction set in a small village England in 1666, one of the worst years of the Plague. The main character is strong and interesting, observing everything that happens around her (and a lot happens) and considering what these events say about God, religion, science, and all of human nature. I highly recommend this book. It was my pick for book group this year, and I am pleased with how it went.
(For previous book review entries, click "book review" on the list of topics to the right.)