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Sunshine On My Shoulder Makes Me See Things

Meghan hangs out with cool, nineteenth century teens in The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell.

Sunshine On My Shoulder Makes Me See Things

BOOK REPORT for The Vespertine (Vespertine Book 1) by Saundra Mitchell

Cover Story: Thank God For My Kindle
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Chaotic
Bonus Factors: The Season, Mysterious Loner Dude
Relationship Status: I'll Keep My Dance Card Open For You

Cover Story: Thank God For My Kindle

Oh no! Don't look now, but you're being chased by another lame cover! Even though it's not as bad as the Anna Godberson books, it's still up there on the shame scale. A not-historically-accurate dress! A damsel in distress! Thank God I was able to get this galley electronically and read it on my Kindle.

The Deal:

Since their parents died, Amelia's been raised by her dour brother and his practical wife on the bleak Maine coast, and that's where she returns when she's sent up a ruined girl at the end of her only Season in Baltimore. The summer with her cousin Zora was supposed to be her one chance to make a suitable match, but instead she discovers the ability to see the future in the light at sunset and a mysterious young man who's most definitely unsuitable in every way. Her talents don't just wreck her own life, they wreck her cousin's and everyone else around them.

BFF Charm: Yay!

I wish I was giggling behind the bed curtain with Amelia and Zora. Their easy banter and recklessness makes me want to share gossip and secrets with them. Because they're teenagers in the nineteenth century, expected to marry and shoulder responsibility earlier than today's teenagers, they're definitely less angsty and self absorbed than a lot of young characters. They're still teenagers, though, testing boundaries and running wild and disobeying their parents and getting the giggles and falling in love. They're like my ideal teenage girls - all the crazy fun and giddiness without the whining. Plus, while I never had the courage to sneak out as a teenager, I could totally manage it now if it was with Amelia and Zora.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

The heat between Amelia and Nathaniel Witherspoon, the most unsuitable young man she meets when he's hired to make up the numbers at a dinner party - a so-called "Fourteeth" - is sizzling. Even though they don't get very far around the bases, the fact that in their world just touching bare hands is scandalous makes every forbidden meeting of theirs hot.

I admit, it thrilled me when Nathaniel gripped my hand too long, then reached inside the cab to settle my hems.

"Do forgive me," he said, eyes meeting mine as he brushed gloved fingers over my boot. "I've no reputation of my own, and I forget they matter."

See? Plus they have that whole instant sexual attraction thing, and the desperate intensity of first love.

Talky Talk: Chaotic

I gotta admit, I didn't really get some of the more magical elements. I mean, I GET them, but the way they're described is confusing. The writing style is a sometimes little too Magic-the-Gathering-meets-bodice-ripper-romance for me, but hey, I hear that's some people's thing, and it wasn't a turn-off or anything.

Bonus Factor: The Season

The Season! Balls! Gowns! Dance cards! Calls! Tea! All sorts of things that seem so glamorous and fun on paper but are probably murderously boring and/or uncomfortable in real life (ahem- corsets? No thanks- a bra is bad enough). I love reading about the Season, though!

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Oh, MLD, it's been a long time since I've seen you. Nathaniel is definitely a good MLD - he's an artist and reprobate with no apparent family or connections (I KNOW. WHAT are we to do with no connections?), plus he just appears and disappears out of nowhere, unexpectedly. Totally intriguing, off limits and unreliable = bad boy supreme.

Casting Call:

Lily Cole as Amelia

She's not tall and ungainly like Amelia's described in the book, but I still pictured someone otherworldy like Lily Cole in the role.

Theo James as Nathaniel

Relationship Status: I'll Keep My Dance Card Open For You

I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to full-on courting, but I'll definitely save some dances for this book. It's sexy and mysterious - perfect for the waltzes. I might even scandalize the matrons by dancing two dances in a row and letting it edge out the other books at the ball for my company, but it might turn out to just be a flirtation and nothing more serious.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Harcourt Children's Books, via NetGalley. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Vespertine will be released March 7.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.