he venerable author tackles a
tough subject in an unlikely format
-- as a screenplay. Taken from
real-life historical facts, it has
untapped potential. Unfortunately,
the screenplay format hinders more than it helps. Because we're thrown directly into the action, there is no way of knowing how life was for these characters before the riots began.
It's 1863, and Irish immigrants living in New York are out rioting against the latest draft. The target of their frustration is the government and the African-American community. Working at restaurant called the Peacock Inn, 15-year-old Claire lives with her white mother Ellen and black father John. The Peacock Inn is a safe haven for Claire and her friends, who watch as the danger and violence escalate. But all too quickly, Claire watches as these friends, some she's had since childhood, get caught up in the politics. (EGMONT, Sep., 176 pp., $16.99, ISBN: 9781606840009, HC, 12 and Up)