Girl Sailing Aboard the Western Star
Publisher: My Favorite Books Publishing Company, LLC
Release Date: January 1, 2020
I was already an R.A. Anderson fan after reading her Puffins in Iceland series, so I went into Girl Sailing Aboard the Western Star with pretty high hopes. I was not let down.
Anderson’s command of language allows her to craft a story from the point of view of a twelve-year-old girl that feels authentic and believable. I often find that authors try to stick with the juvenile, misspelled way someone at that age would write, and while I understand and respect that (because how else do you make it authentic?), sometimes it can be difficult to read long passages that way. Those stories need to rely heavily on narration to break up the dialog, rather than the epistolary form Anderson chose for this book. Given the form, Anderson could have easily weighed the reading down, but she ingeniously prefaces the book in a way that allows for a bit of editing, for lack of a better term. That is to say, the language makes me believe these journal entries were written by a twelve-year-old by word choice, while still maintaining a grammatical structure expected form a well-written piece.
Because of Anderson’s excellence in craft, I was able to dive head-first into the world of twelve-year-old Annie, going back to my own youth and the things I thought I was losing without any idea that I was gaining something else. As a mother, I could read about Annie and look at my own daughter and consider the things she has been forced to leave behind as we both grow in life. But I think the part I enjoyed most was simply the adventure of it all; getting to go back to pre-teen years and all the confusing thoughts and emotions and discovering life outside of self. Most of my adventures came before the age of twelve, and I didn’t move or switch schools (beyond changing grades), but I still remember the friends I made and only saw at a specific annual event, or the kids I played with in the pool on a family vacation, and how they were so different than my school friends.
Girl Sailing Aboard the Western Star is a book I can’t wait to share with my daughter, and I hope she’ll share it with her cousins.