Young adult historical novel!
By Kris Anderson, The Avid Reader
The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill is set in Chicago, Illinois in 1924. Piper Caroline Sail is eighteen years old and best friends with Lydia. Lydia has been having seizures (epilepsy), but her parents (especially her doctor father) have been telling her they are fainting spells. Piper has been forbidden from telling Lydia the truth (by Lydia’s parents). Late one afternoon Lydia stops by to tell Piper that her parents are sending her away to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Lydia does not wish to leave because she is in love with their chauffer, Matthew. Lydia takes leave of Piper and heads down the street to the Barrow’s. The next day Piper is approached outside Presley’s School for Girls by two detectives. Lydia never returned home the previous evening and has been reported missing. Piper is very worried about her best friend and will do whatever it takes to find her. Piper finds that she has been leading a sheltered life on Astor Street. With the help of Detective Mariano Cassano and Walter Thatcher (the housekeeper’s son and friend), Piper starts asking questions and following up on leads. Piper will not stop until she finds out what happened to Lydia even if it means risking her life.
The Lost Girl of Astor Street is told from Piper’s point-of-view. Despite Piper being eighteen, she is immature (for 1924). The way the novel is written, Piper comes across as a young adolescent at times (and then a mature woman who is thinking about marriage the next). The Lost Girl of Astor Street might sound like an adult novel, but it is geared towards young adults (did not discover this until I was reading it). I found the book to be nicely written and have a good pace (nice flow). I liked the characters (for the most part) and the setting (great time period). It was interesting how the author tied in criminal elements (the gangs) of Chicago into the storyline. I give The Lost Girl of Astor Street 3.5 out of 5 stars. I appreciated the mystery in the novel. It comes across as complicated, but the solution is simple. Piper could be a bit tenacious at times (determined, pushy). Piper cannot seem to think about anything except her lost friend (and Detective Cassano after spending time with him). Piper’s crying got on my nerves after the third time. She is supposed to be this modern woman (who is determined and stands up for what she believes in), but then she breaks down in tears frequently. Piper was a very contradictory character. The Lost Girl of Astor Street could use some fine tuning (it has such potential). I think tweens/teens will enjoy The Lost Girl of Astor Street.