By Sasha Gould
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 263 pages
Sasha Gould’s Cross My Heart, a young adult historical novel, tells the story of Lara, the second daughter of a wealthy, but declining Venice family in the 16th century. At the beginning of the novel, Lara lives in a convent where she has been placed after the death of her mother and her family’s realization that they don’t have enough money to pay for two dowries. The story really gets going when she is recalled from the convent after the death of her older sister from drowning. She is quickly drafted to take her sister’s place, both in a pre-arranged marriage and in high society, and she must learn to negotiate the twisty politics of upper-class Venice. Gould’s book is written for a young adult audience, and the story may seem a little simple to some adult readers, but has a pleasantly surprising twist at the end. It has some moments that may be slightly scary for younger teens, but there is nothing overtly graphic included. The language is also accessible, without feeling overly simplified or condescending. For adults or older teens, this will be a very quick read, but it is still highly enjoyable.
Reviewed by Katie Richards