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Beyond the Mapped Stars

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A adventure, set in the late 19th century, about science, love, and finding your place in the world. Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bertelsen dreams of becoming an astronomer, but she knows such dreams are as unreachable as the stars she so deeply adores. As a Mormon girl, her duty is to her family and, in a not too far away future, to the man who’ll choose to marry her. When A adventure, set in the late 19th century, about science, love, and finding your place in the world. Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bertelsen dreams of becoming an astronomer, but she knows such dreams are as unreachable as the stars she so deeply adores. As a Mormon girl, her duty is to her family and, in a not too far away future, to the man who’ll choose to marry her. When she unexpectedly finds herself in Colorado, she’s tempted by the total eclipse of the sun that’s about to happen—and maybe even meeting up with the female scientists she’s long admired. Elizabeth must learn to navigate this new world of possibility: with her familial duties and faith tugging at her heartstrings, a new romance on the horizon, and the study of the night sky calling to her, she can’t possibly have it all…can she?


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A adventure, set in the late 19th century, about science, love, and finding your place in the world. Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bertelsen dreams of becoming an astronomer, but she knows such dreams are as unreachable as the stars she so deeply adores. As a Mormon girl, her duty is to her family and, in a not too far away future, to the man who’ll choose to marry her. When A adventure, set in the late 19th century, about science, love, and finding your place in the world. Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bertelsen dreams of becoming an astronomer, but she knows such dreams are as unreachable as the stars she so deeply adores. As a Mormon girl, her duty is to her family and, in a not too far away future, to the man who’ll choose to marry her. When she unexpectedly finds herself in Colorado, she’s tempted by the total eclipse of the sun that’s about to happen—and maybe even meeting up with the female scientists she’s long admired. Elizabeth must learn to navigate this new world of possibility: with her familial duties and faith tugging at her heartstrings, a new romance on the horizon, and the study of the night sky calling to her, she can’t possibly have it all…can she?

30 review for Beyond the Mapped Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Faith M ✨

    I was terrified to read Autoboyography because it was written by two people who are not members of the church writing about members of the church, and we're usually portrayed extremely incorrectly, often to the point where I wonder if the authors have ever met a Mormon. While Autoboyography managed to pleasantly surprise me with how human and accurate it was, there were still some big inconsistencies and straight-up falsehoods that irked me a little. The author-duo lived in Utah, but that's not I was terrified to read Autoboyography because it was written by two people who are not members of the church writing about members of the church, and we're usually portrayed extremely incorrectly, often to the point where I wonder if the authors have ever met a Mormon. While Autoboyography managed to pleasantly surprise me with how human and accurate it was, there were still some big inconsistencies and straight-up falsehoods that irked me a little. The author-duo lived in Utah, but that's not the same as fully understanding the culture of a religion. Except Rosalyn Eves is a Mormon (technically we prefer you don't use the term but I am for the purposes of this pre-review as it's the well-known colloquial term; I really hope the blurb changes that before publication though). So I'm assuming that she's finally here to bring us justice. I've always wanted to write a book featuring an LDS character but I've been so afraid to because of how people might react, whether in hate, apathy, or simply that I would only be taken seriously within the literature of the church. I am very excited for this. But I'm really scared too. So if you read this, please read it with an open mind. I know there are people who really don't like Rosalyn Eves' writing. If that's the case, just don't read the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Rawson Hill

    I feel like I finally just really saw myself in a book and it was beautiful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    chanting softly: rare diversity, rare diversity, rare diversity chanting softly: rare diversity, rare diversity, rare diversity

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads)

    The fact that we'll get a Mormon protagonist is everything I could've wanted for YA. We need more religious diversity. Cannot wait for this! The fact that we'll get a Mormon protagonist is everything I could've wanted for YA. We need more religious diversity. Cannot wait for this!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Austin

    "I've felt lifted by religious faith and prodded by scientific questions, and I don't know if I can sift through my life and pinpoint the moment they diverge. Maybe they don't diverge at all--maybe they're part of the same vast system, but I don't see all the connections yet." (Beyond the Mapped Stars, 324) It is amazing, and really quite inspiring, how many important issues Rosalyn Eves has managed to fit into her new book, Beyond the Mapped Stars, while telling an engaging story with vibrant ch "I've felt lifted by religious faith and prodded by scientific questions, and I don't know if I can sift through my life and pinpoint the moment they diverge. Maybe they don't diverge at all--maybe they're part of the same vast system, but I don't see all the connections yet." (Beyond the Mapped Stars, 324) It is amazing, and really quite inspiring, how many important issues Rosalyn Eves has managed to fit into her new book, Beyond the Mapped Stars, while telling an engaging story with vibrant characters. The book deals smartly with some of the most fraught subjects in Mormon history--polygamy, racism, and women's equality--while also packing in thoughtful discussions and depictions of faith and science, cross-cultural friendship, family relationships, and the soft tyranny of inflexible expectations. And, most important of all, there is a train robbery, which is as close as a land-locked novel can come to the narrative summum bonum of pirates. And an eclipse. The organizing event of the novel is the solar eclipse that occurred on July 29, 1878 and brought much of the scientific and literary establishment of the United States out to Colorado to experience it. Our heroine, Elizabeth Bertelsen, is the eighteen-year-old daughter of a polygamous Mormon family who dreams of becoming an astronomer. When Elizabeth gets a chance to travel from her rural Utah home to Wyoming around the time of the eclipse, she takes it, harboring the hope that she might possibly find a way to see the eclipse. (Slight spoiler alert: She does). In her travels, she meets and becomes friends with a young black woman named Alice Stevens, and her brother, will--both children of wealthy mixed-race parents. Alice dreams of becoming an artist. The dynamic here is powerful. Both of the young women--Elizabeth the Mormon and Alice the African-American--represent unpopular and persecuted minorities whose options would have been strikingly limited in 1878. The first thing they must do is make room for each other in their visions of the world, and then they have to convince the world to make room for them too. To do this, they both have to go off script--they have to do things that make them extremely uncomfortable and open to rejection. They have to go, well, "beyond the mapped stars." (Second slight spoiler alert: they do). Beyond the Mapped Stars is thoughtful and entertaining, and also a lot of fun. The cast is strewn with both famous and less famous historical characters: Thomas Edison, Jane Manning James, Maria Mitchell, Hellen Hunt Jackson, and the Wild-West showman "Texas Jack" (John Omohundro)--just to name a few. A wonderful and engaging book for young women and other humans.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Hastings

    1878, Elizabeth is a Mormon girl in Monroe, Utah. She wants to be an astronomer and see the eclipse. Her mother wants her to be a wife. Torn between desire and duty. Faith and science. Elizabeth goes on a trip to help her sister and ends up in Denver, CO to see the eclipse with the help of friends. Author Rosalyn Eves beautifully explores prejudices, faith, science, family, and ethnicity. Her writing feels authentic, but inclusive. Her main character experiences prejudice for being a part of a p 1878, Elizabeth is a Mormon girl in Monroe, Utah. She wants to be an astronomer and see the eclipse. Her mother wants her to be a wife. Torn between desire and duty. Faith and science. Elizabeth goes on a trip to help her sister and ends up in Denver, CO to see the eclipse with the help of friends. Author Rosalyn Eves beautifully explores prejudices, faith, science, family, and ethnicity. Her writing feels authentic, but inclusive. Her main character experiences prejudice for being a part of a polygamous Mormon family, which gives her the insight into how others feel when they are excluded or prejudiced against. Elizabeth is anything but perfect, but she is willing to learn from her mistakes and open her mind. It’s a truly beautiful book. A perfect read for anyone struggling with how their beliefs fit into their faith.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Seegmiller

    This beautiful book showcases an authentic 1800s "old west," as well as what it may have been like for a girl who has only known the high mountain desert and a world encompassed in religion as home. True to Eves' form, the writing is lush and beautiful, and both readers in and out of faith will come to see how religion and science can align, and that a girl can move into her authentic self. This beautiful book showcases an authentic 1800s "old west," as well as what it may have been like for a girl who has only known the high mountain desert and a world encompassed in religion as home. True to Eves' form, the writing is lush and beautiful, and both readers in and out of faith will come to see how religion and science can align, and that a girl can move into her authentic self.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Berry Jam

    so it's no secret religion is generally very harmful but from the summary of this book it sounds interesting, i just hope it's not gonna romanticize toxic religious teachings, though i'm not hopeful because the author is an LDS member so it's immediately biased, but oh well, i might give it a shot, like i said, it genuinely sounds interesting so it's no secret religion is generally very harmful but from the summary of this book it sounds interesting, i just hope it's not gonna romanticize toxic religious teachings, though i'm not hopeful because the author is an LDS member so it's immediately biased, but oh well, i might give it a shot, like i said, it genuinely sounds interesting

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Diversity is the name of the game in YA literature, but I think religious diversity is often ignored. I love the fact that Eves delved into Mormonism (which is my faith, culture, and heritage, as well as hers) in this book. She presented nuances in the religion and lifestyle with sensitivity and humor. She shines a light on the mockery and injustices suffered by our people in the 1800s, something that isn't always known about. I appreciated her insider's view. All that being said, I still didn't Diversity is the name of the game in YA literature, but I think religious diversity is often ignored. I love the fact that Eves delved into Mormonism (which is my faith, culture, and heritage, as well as hers) in this book. She presented nuances in the religion and lifestyle with sensitivity and humor. She shines a light on the mockery and injustices suffered by our people in the 1800s, something that isn't always known about. I appreciated her insider's view. All that being said, I still didn't love BEYOND THE MAPPED STARS. While I appreciate that Elizabeth is a young woman who's buckling against what's expected of her and trying to find her own way, I found her to be a selfish, me-me-me kind of character. Sure, she helps out with chores and kid-watching, but she's still a very self-centered person. Her reasons for wanting to study astronomy didn't feel all that compelling to me, which made her story goal feel weak. Honestly, I didn't really care if she saw the eclipse or not. I was never worried that she wouldn't get what she wanted, so I never felt truly invested in her plight. Elizabeth's views on homosexuality, race mixing, women's roles, etc. also felt VERY progressive for a sheltered Mormon girl in the 1800s who's lived in Utah her whole life. That felt inauthentic to me. As far as Elizabeth's romance with Samuel? Bleh. I didn't feel any sparks between the two of them at all. Plot-wise, BEYOND THE MAPPED STARS is a slow read that gets quite dull in places. It took me almost a week to read the book because between the bland characters and glacial plotting, I just found it so putdownable. Eves' prose leaves something to be desired as well as it feels too simplistic. I wanted deeper digging in both the plot and the writing itself. I'm not saying there aren't good things about this novel. There are. I like its emphasis on women in science (even though I have little interest in the subject myself), its examination of female work/life balance, and its exploration of the relationship between religion and science. As I said above, I also enjoyed its focus on Mormonism. Unfortunately, though, the characters didn't speak to me much and the story plods along so slowly that I got bored with it. I wanted to love this novel so much and I just...didn't. In the end, it turned out to be just an okay read for me. Bummer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    The age old struggle of religion vs. science comes to the forefront in this young adult historical fiction novel. The year is 1878. Elizabeth Bertlesen lives at home in Utah with her parents and 4 younger siblings. As long as she can remember, she has been in love with the sky and the stars and she longs to be an astronomer, often getting into trouble with her head in the clouds. Now that she's 17, her mother thinks it's time that such nonsense be pushed aside and that Elizabeth should settle do The age old struggle of religion vs. science comes to the forefront in this young adult historical fiction novel. The year is 1878. Elizabeth Bertlesen lives at home in Utah with her parents and 4 younger siblings. As long as she can remember, she has been in love with the sky and the stars and she longs to be an astronomer, often getting into trouble with her head in the clouds. Now that she's 17, her mother thinks it's time that such nonsense be pushed aside and that Elizabeth should settle down and make a home/family - because that is her duty as a Mormon. When a call to Colorado comes requesting assistance for a sickly, pregnant sister, Elizabeth accepts the duty. After a wild train ride, that includes a holdup and a layover in which Elizabeth meets Thomas Edison, Elizabeth connects with individuals who help re-form her ideas on religion vs. science. She sees the two can coexist, and can actually complement one another. The story culminates as the eclipse draws near, and Elizabeth must decide whether to return home to help with her "sickly" mother, or stay behind with fellow ladies of science for the momentous event. She struggles with duty versus dreams, and wonders if it's possible to be a woman of faith AND of science.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Theriault

    One of the best, insightful, and coming of age stories I've read. One of the best, insightful, and coming of age stories I've read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This book is a thoughtful and deeply enjoyable exploration of the intersection of religion and science, but more than that, it’s about finding a path for yourself when the world around you seems determined to make you stay in a box. It’s a must-read, with a very satisfying ending, and left me feeling as cozy inside as anything I’ve read before.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Caitie

    I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, I got this on Kindle on a whim based on the description--but I'm glad I read it. Mormons aren't a group of people I think much about, which sounds bad but except for some kind of report I did in the eighth grade, I haven't given that particular religion much thought. So this book took me by surprise. I did enjoy Elizabeth's story quite a bit, I find that her thinking that she didn't quite fit into her large family to be realistic. Even th I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, I got this on Kindle on a whim based on the description--but I'm glad I read it. Mormons aren't a group of people I think much about, which sounds bad but except for some kind of report I did in the eighth grade, I haven't given that particular religion much thought. So this book took me by surprise. I did enjoy Elizabeth's story quite a bit, I find that her thinking that she didn't quite fit into her large family to be realistic. Even though this book takes place in 1878, Elizabeth's emotions still felt like any teenage girl living today could feel the same way. She never quite felt that she was good enough to be a Mormon. Her mother keeps reminding her that she needs to be Godly, taking care of her younger siblings, planning for a continued future in the church. I can understand Elizabeth's need for adventure, going off to Denver to see a lunar eclipse.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ally Kay

    I really wanted to love this one. Unfortunately, my overall impression of Beyond the Mapped Stars is boredom. There were several moments in the story that were SUPPOSED to be exciting, I knew they were. However, there was something lacking in the writing that made what should have been heart-racing scenes move at a languid pace. The characters are the ultimate downfall of this story, I think. Our protagonist is taught a few interconnected lessons through this story, and she makes such stupid cho I really wanted to love this one. Unfortunately, my overall impression of Beyond the Mapped Stars is boredom. There were several moments in the story that were SUPPOSED to be exciting, I knew they were. However, there was something lacking in the writing that made what should have been heart-racing scenes move at a languid pace. The characters are the ultimate downfall of this story, I think. Our protagonist is taught a few interconnected lessons through this story, and she makes such stupid choices while learning them that it’s almost painful. Her decisions really don’t make any sense, especially stacked one against another. I think the idea is supposed to be that she swings between two extremes after being given permission to be a little selfish, but it doesn’t ring true. The upshot is that she gets preached at A LOT, and the story is rife with “moral of the story moments” that are too heavy-handed. Another character likes to take risks. Why? Honestly, couldn’t tell you. I kept waiting for an explanation of why this guy does dumb stuff for a thrill, and I really never got one. Lastly, I think the book jacket would do well to nix any mentions of romance, because it was disappointing at best. The love interest is barely in the book, and I think we’re supposed to rely on the description of a fraught history with the love interest character to become invested in the love story. It’s no more than an afterthought. I did enjoy some elements of the book— the few shining moments when the narrator wasn’t being insufferable. The diversity representation is pretty awesome. Overall, it wasn’t BAD. I think my review is coming off rather more harshly than the book deserves. I was just pretty bored.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alyse

    Sometimes it feels like all of the books that are out there are set in New York City or London. So it's a huge treat to read a book in a completely new setting that I've never considered before. That was one thing I loved about Rosalyn Eves' first book set in Hungary. This book is set in 1870s rural Utah, with a young female Mormon protagonist, and I have never come across a story in this setting or with this cast of characters before. I really loved how distinctive this was, and even if the res Sometimes it feels like all of the books that are out there are set in New York City or London. So it's a huge treat to read a book in a completely new setting that I've never considered before. That was one thing I loved about Rosalyn Eves' first book set in Hungary. This book is set in 1870s rural Utah, with a young female Mormon protagonist, and I have never come across a story in this setting or with this cast of characters before. I really loved how distinctive this was, and even if the rest of the book hadn't been good, that would still have made it worth reading. Eves did a fantastic job representing the Mormon religion at the time, with all of its positive and negative aspects, in a very real and believable way. I really loved how Elizabeth Bertelsen, the main character, traveled this journey of struggling between her desires for achievement and learning and her desire to fulfill her family's wishes for her, at a time and in a place where there weren't many opportunities for her. Her dreams of becoming an astronomer and her dreams for a family and her religion felt very applicable to women today. I really loved how Elizabeth was able to validate both desires, instead of giving up one part of herself entirely. It felt much more nuanced than many YA coming-of-age novels in that way. I am a Mormon, and I personally have ancestors who lived similar lives to Elizabeth Bertelsen's, so that was a personally compelling reason for me to enjoy this book. I also personally identify with many of the issues and conclusions that Elizabeth is wrestling with throughout the book. But I think this could be a book that anyone would enjoy, especially anyone who belongs to any faith and grapples with the demands of their faith.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Elizabeth is an older teenager living in a small town in Utah. She has a passion for astronomy and learning, but her mother thinks that she's shirking her true duties by spending time in these pursuits. In fact her mom thinks she should consider becoming the polygamist wife of a middle aged man in town. Fortunately for Elizabeth, her older sister is ready to give birth in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and needs Elizabeth to come and help her. Escaping her mother's tightly held beliefs about what Elizabeth Elizabeth is an older teenager living in a small town in Utah. She has a passion for astronomy and learning, but her mother thinks that she's shirking her true duties by spending time in these pursuits. In fact her mom thinks she should consider becoming the polygamist wife of a middle aged man in town. Fortunately for Elizabeth, her older sister is ready to give birth in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and needs Elizabeth to come and help her. Escaping her mother's tightly held beliefs about what Elizabeth should be doing and taking the train to Wyoming gives her a whole new set of experiences. She spends time with a young man who also lives in her community, experiences a train robbery, meets a wealthy mixed race brother and sister, helps her sister, and ends up being able to take the train to Colorado to see the eclipse. Along the way Elizabeth meets several famous people from history and has the opportunity to look at her life situation in different ways. Elizabeth's story was compelling from almost the very beginning. I was so invested in her figuring out how NOT to become a polygamous wife and at the same time wanted her to be able to see the eclipse! (Having been lucky enough to see the 2017 eclipse in the zone of totality I know what an amazing experience it is and I wanted that for her!) I loved how each chapter counted down the days until the eclipse. I was impressed by her gumption and effort and loved the way it came together in the end.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Firkins

    Eves has a natural storytelling voice, lyrical but never flowery, deftly unfolding the journey of a young girl trying to reconcile differing views on faith and science as she forges a path for her future. The first half of the book is structured much like a modern road trip narrative, as Elizabeth encounters various perils, allies, and antagonists in her journey from her small, isolated town toward a larger city full of opportunities. The second half follows her struggles in The Big City as she Eves has a natural storytelling voice, lyrical but never flowery, deftly unfolding the journey of a young girl trying to reconcile differing views on faith and science as she forges a path for her future. The first half of the book is structured much like a modern road trip narrative, as Elizabeth encounters various perils, allies, and antagonists in her journey from her small, isolated town toward a larger city full of opportunities. The second half follows her struggles in The Big City as she weighs input from members of scientific and religious communities, wondering whose example to follow. Teen readers will relate to the search for the perfect mentor, only to discover that while they can take bits and pieces from several influences, their path won't precisely mirror anyone's but their own. At heart, the book is a personal story of a girl deciding what future to pursue, but it also thematically focuses on various prejudices and assumptions, be they about race, religion, gender, or class, and how those assumptions can be a barrier to personal and professional fulfillment. I enjoyed the way Eves wove in real historic facts and figures, while never halting the momentum of the story, and when the eclipse finally arrives, we sense the wonder of a girl on the precipice of womanhood, ready to grab her future with both hands and hold on tight.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Finally! A compelling historical narrative centering Elizabeth, a Mormon protagonist with complexity, dimension, and universality. Eves is doing the necessary work of showing how any reader can benefit from reading a story that raises questions about family expectations, choice, ambition, staying true to oneself, integrity, and how to confront assumptions and overcome prejudice in our communities—regardless of the narrator’s religious background. I especially appreciated the BIPOC characters and Finally! A compelling historical narrative centering Elizabeth, a Mormon protagonist with complexity, dimension, and universality. Eves is doing the necessary work of showing how any reader can benefit from reading a story that raises questions about family expectations, choice, ambition, staying true to oneself, integrity, and how to confront assumptions and overcome prejudice in our communities—regardless of the narrator’s religious background. I especially appreciated the BIPOC characters and the incredible cameos from real historical figures, such as Jane Manning James, Thomas Edison, and Maria Mitchell. The historical details sparkle on the page, evidence of an enormous amount of thought and research. Eves portrays the everyday life of these characters and brings to life the under-appreciated aspects of this time and place, such as women’s blessings, the varied opinions on polygamy, and an acknowledgment of a Mother God. This is not devotional, nor whitewashed. It does not romanticize or defend, either. As a result, Elizabeth feels like a timeless constellation many young (and not so young) people will recognize. We need more books like this. I'll be writing a full review in the Fall 2021 issue of Exponent II.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Schoedel III

    Great read. I really enjoyed the story arc. The protagonist is a sincere and well-meaning, yet (like most every teenager) flighty at times, occasionally very selfish and self-centered. I like that our heroine was not an impossibly perfect teenager; such a story would be unbelievable. Sometimes you will want to yell at her. And that's ok since she deserves it. But she learns from her experiences, as most of us as teenagers learn from our stupid and selfish experiences. As an example, with some ha Great read. I really enjoyed the story arc. The protagonist is a sincere and well-meaning, yet (like most every teenager) flighty at times, occasionally very selfish and self-centered. I like that our heroine was not an impossibly perfect teenager; such a story would be unbelievable. Sometimes you will want to yell at her. And that's ok since she deserves it. But she learns from her experiences, as most of us as teenagers learn from our stupid and selfish experiences. As an example, with some half-truths and lies Elizabeth nearly ruins an important friendship. This is just so much like a teen drama might play out, which is one of many things that makes the book relatable for modern teens, Mormon or non-Mormon. Some will say some of the more progressive attitudes of some characters is unrealistic for the time period, but I would dismiss such complaints. They may not have been common attitudes of the time period, but absolutely there were more progressive thinkers then. Eves skims some societal prejudices whilst taking others head on. I really appreciated the balance, as it makes the book come off more realistic and less preachy, allowing for the reader to not be told what to think. A worthy addition to the canon of Mormon YA literature.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I've read a few books that attempt to be about Mormon characters that never quite do it well--it seems they are only written for an LDS audience. Beyond the Mapped Stars's protagonist is a Mormon girl from a polygamous household in 1878, and yet this book strikes a balance that brings the historical fiction elements forward as a book for anyone to enjoy. It was so refreshing to read something where the lead character is "Mormon," but the book isn't only for Mormons. A coming-of-age story, Elizab I've read a few books that attempt to be about Mormon characters that never quite do it well--it seems they are only written for an LDS audience. Beyond the Mapped Stars's protagonist is a Mormon girl from a polygamous household in 1878, and yet this book strikes a balance that brings the historical fiction elements forward as a book for anyone to enjoy. It was so refreshing to read something where the lead character is "Mormon," but the book isn't only for Mormons. A coming-of-age story, Elizabeth Bertleson is trying to find where she fits in: does she follow the pious domestic life path that has been set out for her, or does she follow her passion to study astronomy when it is not what females of her time and background typically do? There are also a lot of real life historical figures who show up in the book, along with a diverse cast of fictional characters, when Elizabeth embarks on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the 1878 solar eclipse, an event that will shape how she pictures her future. (This would have been a much faster read but I had a baby in the middle of it and didn't have time to read.)

  21. 5 out of 5

    A.

    I had a lot of feelings as I read this book. I write this as an LDS person. I have never read a traditionally pubbed book with an LDS protagonist and I cannot say enough how stunned I was at how meaningful this book was to me--to see myself on the pages. This is a book that I wish my teen self had had. This book just totally nails it. My only complaints were that there were two emotional points that didn't quite resonant in the way I wanted them too, and I felt like the Black experience wasn't ful I had a lot of feelings as I read this book. I write this as an LDS person. I have never read a traditionally pubbed book with an LDS protagonist and I cannot say enough how stunned I was at how meaningful this book was to me--to see myself on the pages. This is a book that I wish my teen self had had. This book just totally nails it. My only complaints were that there were two emotional points that didn't quite resonant in the way I wanted them too, and I felt like the Black experience wasn't fully represented (in terms of barriers and discrimination, specifically). But other than those two (relatively minor) issues, this book just knocked me over with its quality and content. It was so relatable, and so wildly LDS but in the best way possible. She tackled really tough issues, like polygamy and LGBT issues, in such an honest and wonderful way. I cannot overemphasize how emotional it was to read this book. Highly highly recommend, to LDS and non-LDS readers alike. It's an incredible read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    This was a disappointment. I kept reading to see if the novel would get better but it didn't. The pace is veryyyyyyy slow. There are so many unnecessary conversations and details. I wanted to like the protagonist Elizabeth but she had no personality outside of her love for her family, her devotion to her religion and her interest in astronomy. I completely lost interest in the novel with 10% of it remaining and couldn't force myself to finish it. The only redeeming factor was Elizabeth's friends This was a disappointment. I kept reading to see if the novel would get better but it didn't. The pace is veryyyyyyy slow. There are so many unnecessary conversations and details. I wanted to like the protagonist Elizabeth but she had no personality outside of her love for her family, her devotion to her religion and her interest in astronomy. I completely lost interest in the novel with 10% of it remaining and couldn't force myself to finish it. The only redeeming factor was Elizabeth's friendship/relationship with Samuel. I liked how supportive he was of her. Elizabeth's relationship with her sisters and siblings was very undeveloped. The novel tried to bring issues of race into discussion through Elizabeth's friends Will and Alice but did a very poor, surface level job of it. I wish it were more nuanced and complex. This is a very basic story and reminds me of something that would be a better tween/preteen read than teen read. There was no emotional depth whatsoever. The Mormon aspect of it felt very forced and unnecessary.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    2.5 stars, rounded up because it's nice to finally see an accurate depiction of Mormons in YA lit (even if they're 1800s Mormons). But overall, this almost read like a middle grade book. The writing felt very surface-level and simple. The main character consistently made wrong decisions and it felt very obvious it was only to draw out the plot. The idea of the book was a good one, but it really could have been better if we'd been able to delve deeper into it. I do appreciate the author's willing 2.5 stars, rounded up because it's nice to finally see an accurate depiction of Mormons in YA lit (even if they're 1800s Mormons). But overall, this almost read like a middle grade book. The writing felt very surface-level and simple. The main character consistently made wrong decisions and it felt very obvious it was only to draw out the plot. The idea of the book was a good one, but it really could have been better if we'd been able to delve deeper into it. I do appreciate the author's willingness to write about Mormons in the 1800s...especially during polygamy. It's not a subject I'd want to touch with a 30 foot pole, but I think she did it pretty well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I so wish this book had been around when I was a seventeen year old Mormon girl with dreams so much bigger than my culture and religion encouraged. I loved this book's messages about dreaming big, finding the balance between selfishness and self-actualization, and the courage needed to be yourself in the face of disappointing those around you. I loved that this book had diverse representations of people in the West and touched on the complicated issues surrounding race, sexuality, religion, and I so wish this book had been around when I was a seventeen year old Mormon girl with dreams so much bigger than my culture and religion encouraged. I loved this book's messages about dreaming big, finding the balance between selfishness and self-actualization, and the courage needed to be yourself in the face of disappointing those around you. I loved that this book had diverse representations of people in the West and touched on the complicated issues surrounding race, sexuality, religion, and misogyny present at the time. It's also beautifully written.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    Gracefully slayed I am still shaking my head in unbelief that the author manages to parade out all the Elephants in the Room and have them gracefully dancing the minuet by the end of this thoughtful narrative. Eves boldly, yet fairly, takes on complex modern and historical issues through this endearing young adult frontier story. One can't help but cheer on the lively main character as she finds her strength (and her self) in the proving of contraries. This is an important book I will be thinking Gracefully slayed I am still shaking my head in unbelief that the author manages to parade out all the Elephants in the Room and have them gracefully dancing the minuet by the end of this thoughtful narrative. Eves boldly, yet fairly, takes on complex modern and historical issues through this endearing young adult frontier story. One can't help but cheer on the lively main character as she finds her strength (and her self) in the proving of contraries. This is an important book I will be thinking about for a long time to come.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maree

    This book brought up some interesting things to think about, but there were some major flaws for me. There was no chemistry between the main characters, and the incidents in the book just seemed to be placed in there at regular intervals to try to keep the book engaging (although, at least for me, it didn’t achieve that goal). Unfortunately, I did not really enjoy it; it was tough for me to get through.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    This book is beautiful and important, beginning with that gorgeous cover and the dedication that brought tears to my eyes and continuing through to the very last page. An authentic, moving historical tale that also feels so very relevant today, deftly weaving together themes of faith and family and science and listening to the voice within. Absolutely gorgeous.

  28. 5 out of 5

    bern ⸙͎ ˀˀ

    SO CUTE AND ADORABLE !! writing was spectacular and gave insight on the religion and historical aspect of the time. (A biiit predictable though but there wasnt any huge plot twists so it works out) Don't read if you like fast paced-ish books though you might get bored SO CUTE AND ADORABLE !! writing was spectacular and gave insight on the religion and historical aspect of the time. (A biiit predictable though but there wasnt any huge plot twists so it works out) Don't read if you like fast paced-ish books though you might get bored

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deanna Richert

    I really enjoyed this book! I am not Mormon, and I only say this to encourage those who are not to still read this book! It is a lovely tale about Alice whom I feel a kindred spirit with. It is a fun, easy read that I highly recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Wonderful appeal to all but especially a Mormon audience, This book shows how much and how little has changed for women in science and religion since the 1800s. Although not realistic for the time period, especially for her love interest, I did like how the main character finally embraces her AND.

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