“The Yearbook” by Carol Masciola
Lola Lundy was more than a misfit. After her mentally ill mother’s suicide she was hustled off from foster home to foster home, usually leaving by running away. She was a poor student who had a criminal record. Not edgy enough to be cool she just did what she needed to do to survive. Shortly after arriving in the Ohio rust-belt city where her mother had ended her life, Lola slipped into the school library in an attempt to escape attention and be left alone. This was the start of an adventure that thrust her back to the town’s heyday of 1923 where she was different enough to gain attention. One of the people who noticed her was the handsome, studious Peter. Lola thought she had found her soulmate, but before she could go on she was whisked back to the present.
Was it a dream? Perhaps she was going insane, like her mother. Maybe she just needed a place of refuge where she could fit in and perhaps the still growing, clean city of the 1920s, where everything seemed possible, was just the place her mind needed to go. To Lola, however, it was perfectly clear. She believed she really did go back in time and was desperate to return, desperate to find her true love who she had left almost ninety years behind.
The Yearbook is a YA novel by Carol Masciola. It might be described as a time travel romance with a psychological edge.
I liked the book. The character Lola was very well developed. Even with her not so pleasant past and her idiosyncrasies, you like her and can relate to her. You believe her, even when what she thinks is unbelievable. Besides Lola, there is a colorful cast of characters, from the antacid munching social worker to the eccentric vintage clothes proprietor, to the outgoing flapper with big dreams, Whoopsie. The characters are drawn sharp enough so that even though there is a large cast it is never confusing and each one is very distinct. That being said, although they were all individuals that you can know and see in your mind, only a few of the other characters besides Lola were drawn as more than a quick sketch. In ways this is more the genre than the writing, but also in so many ways the book belongs to Lola so it is not surprising that she is developed much more than any of the others.
I really like some of the details. Occasionally Ms. Masciola would contrast something from the 1920s with the present day. Often they were the types of things that a kid might not think of right off, yet they are simple enough that the pages don’t get bogged down in the details and references that the target audience might not understand.
Overall I really liked the book. Being a YA book it was a quick, easy read yet there were enough twists and turns to stay interesting. Ms. Masciola was able to create tension in the key spots to ensure her readers wouldn’t want to put the book down, particularly while reading the last quarter. Most of the little niggles I have with the book are really more because of the genre and target audience. For instance, I would have liked to have seen more tension about if the time travel was real or only in Lola’s mind, but in a book like this it could have only been written in at cost to another part of the story, such as the romance. In an adult book of twice the length there could have been more of that psychological edge and the romance could have been deeper and broader, but as it is, I think Ms. Masciola did a very good job of balancing the different aspects of the story, creating a world that is complex enough to be interesting and simple enough to be fun. That being said, I think the biggest accomplishment is the compelling character Lola, someone we care about and want to see happy.
You can find this book on Amazon as well as other book stores.