Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 2016
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Historical, Contemporary
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I bought this copy for review.
Rachel and Samuel, the offspring of two warring paleontologists who would like nothing more than to destroy each other. Rachel has dreams of her own though and they don’t include being her father’s assistant forever. She wants adventure, digging up and claiming her own fossils. This trip out to the Badlands to find a large dinosaur is her chance to prove her worth to her father. So he could send her to university and she can fulfill her dreams, which don’t include boys. Speaking of boys, Samuel is a sweet young man who has the same dream. He wants to discover something big, important and strike out on his own.
Between these warring families, Rachel and Samuel find each other, maybe the one person in all the world that understands the other.
But they also understand their families hatred, and how their fathers will stop at nothing to see the other one discredited and humiliated.
I’m familiar with the real life events the book is based on, which is called The Bone Wars. (look it up history buffs) and Oppel does a very good job of showing the frantic and somewhat distasteful competition between the two men. Rachel was a favorite character for me. She’s no nonsense, not really interested in romance, and really does have her heart and mind set upon becoming a true and credited paleontologist. I love that about her, how she is fearless and striking out for herself in an all male field.
Samuel is a good main character as well because he is so different than Rachel. If Rachel is cold and no nonsense, Samuel is actually the romantic. He falls in love with Rachel at the very beginning and has to try really hard to win her over. He is fully supportive of her dreams and values her for her mind and determination, making them a great solid couple. Of course there are problems along the way, being as they are from warring families and after the same prize, but this makes their romance more sweet, more authentic. How to navigate and be supportive to each other when you want what’s best for the other but also a little jealous they are getting closer to their dreams. The game is played throughout the book in subtle ways and it lends to the wonderful storytelling as well as the authenticity of the plot and characters.
There is nothing to not love about this book.
Read it. It’s Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. It’s Romeo & Juliet. It’s amazing fun.