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The Last Girls of Pompeii

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  412 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
In Pompeii, in the summer of A.D. 79, Julia and Sura appear to lead opposite lives. Julia is the daughter of a wealthy ship-builder; Sura is an orphan. Julia bears the Curse of Venus—a withered arm; Sura’s beauty turns heads. Julia is free; Sura is her slave. Then Julia learns that her parents are planning to put her in the service of the Temple of Damia, the center of a c ...more
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Travis The name, yes. It was also referred to as Cupid's Disease or Cupid's Itch. But it didn't refer to the affliction which Julia has in this book. I think…moreThe name, yes. It was also referred to as Cupid's Disease or Cupid's Itch. But it didn't refer to the affliction which Julia has in this book. I think the author chose that name because of the famous statue of Venus Di Milo's missing arms. (less)
Pompeii by Robert   HarrisCurses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear ShecterThe Last Girls of Pompeii by Kathryn LaskyA Day of Fire by Stephanie DrayPompeii by Sue Reid
3rd out of 19 books — 7 voters
Pompeii by Robert   HarrisKrakatoa by Simon WinchesterEruption by Harry TurtledovePompeii by Alex ButterworthAll Fall Down by Harry Turtledove
Eruptions: Volcanic Activity
16th out of 21 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jubilation Lee
Friends, I want to let you know before I start this review that I consider myself sort of an expert on the disaster at Pompeii.

I mean, I watched that episode of “Doctor Who” where the volcano is filled with alien Pyroviles intent on conquering earth at least four times.

And I sat through the entirety of the recent Pompeii film. The whole thing. 105 minutes of unredeemable awfulness.

Okay, it had maybe one redeeming feature.

Or SIX redeeming features, amirite?!

Anyway, so what I’m saying is that I a
Nov 25, 2013 Wanda rated it liked it
The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius has once again provided a backdrop for a historical fiction novel. This story centers around the youngest daughter of a wealthy Roman family and her slave attendant. Julia has had a weary summer coping with the weddings of her two older sisters and her servant and friend Sura has done all she can to help. Julia, born with a deformed arm, is viewed by one of her sisters as a curse and it treated that way. However, the rest of her family views her as a blessing and do ...more
Jul 11, 2008 Bethany rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile, historical
I've always been fascinated by Pompeii. A city covered by ash, lost and forgotten to be unearthed thousands of years later, frozen in time. This is a book about two girls, living in Pompeii at the time of Vesuvius's eruption. Julia is the daughter of a wealthy and important man. Sura is her slave. They're more like sisters than that power differential implies, though; Julia has no other friends, her oldest sister is cruel to her because of the small, useless arm Julia was born with, and Sura is ...more
THIS IS A HORRIBLE BOOK!!!!! THERE IS HARSH LANGUAGE, RUDE BEHAVIOR, AND A TRAUMATIZING.... *decides not to continue* And to top it all off, they gave all of the corpses, the REAL actual corpses found in pompei, names in the ending. Lasky described which characters they were, what they had been doing when they got caught in the volcano, and who had been discovered or not. That had gave me shivers that lasted for three days. It's educantional and a good idea to do, but frightening to some readers ...more
Jul 10, 2014 Kara rated it liked it
Shelves: history-ancient

It’s a solid middle school level presentation of Pompeii’s last days and hours, but the writing style is one of trying to cram in as many facts as possible in a short amount of space.

There’s a lot of “as you know Bob” to the book as characters chatter to each other about the art, architecture, custom and culture of the 1st century as Vesuvius sends out ignored warning signs that it’s about to blow its top.

The main character and her family are very relatable as the parents worry about money and
A quick read - not quite as good as some of Lasky's others. I would put this in young adult rather than children's fiction as the themes are a bit mature (lecherous advances, marriage concerns, adultery). The Pompeii and eruption in this book are not quite as exciting and descriptive as in Caroline Lawrence's juvenile book Pirates of Pompeii nor is this city as 'real' as the Pompeii of Falco's pre-eruption visit in Lindsey Davis's Shadows in Bronze. Still a good story about the two girls coming ...more
Gwen the Librarian
In the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, Julia is a wealthy crippled girl and Sura is her beautiful slave. While they lead totally opposite lives, they are best friends. During a couple of eventful weeks, the girls' world completely changes as they are forced to grow-up and see where their paths will split and what the future will hold. Looming over all of these events is the volcanic Mt. Vesuvius and the earthquakes that are becoming more and more frequent. What does Fate have in store for these t ...more
Jun 08, 2010 Virginia rated it liked it
Once again, Lasky has written a simple story set in Pompeii during the time of Vesuvius's volcanic eruption. Of course, that backdrop sets up the dramatic irony for the story. Everything is heightened because we know that Vesuvius is going to erupt while the citizens do not.

Lasky includes many Roman details (such as eating dormice and religious ceremonies) that bring this story to life.
May 20, 2013 Olivia rated it really liked it
I LOVED this book! It was just for me. One of the reasons I liked it was because it was set in Pompeii and about the eruption! I'm learning latin right now and I love to study it. I'm so glad I picked this book.
Oct 31, 2010 Giselle rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: young adults who know how to spell
Recommended to Giselle by: Pvmom
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2013 Val rated it really liked it
Well anything about Pompeii is fun to explore. This young adult novel has been well researched by Lasky. I feel this book is basically geared for young women aged around 13 and up. There are some slight references to sex that might either be lost on the younger set or be too mature. There is lots of imagery as well as great descriptive writing how the characters dressed and what they ate, as well as the jewelry they wore and their hairstyles. This is another reason I feel this book will appeal t ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Alex rated it really liked it
I think this was pretty good but im doing a project and i need to know if the Curse of Venus was real and it probably was but i need proof so could anyone give me a good website or something? I already tried looking it up, all that comes up is some book with that title!

Deedra Lapray
This book was an interesting look into life in Pompeii. I wonder if anyone really was able to escape the destruction. The author notes that it is possible. Dr. Lesesne gave me this book in class while I was still in my master's program.
Madeleine C
May 20, 2013 Madeleine C rated it really liked it
I actually really likeed this book. The plot was very interesting, and I like how it adds a lot of Greek culture into the story. I also like there are kind of two plots to the story. One about Julia and one about Sura. There were a lot of details in this book I also like. The author is so descriptive ans well spoken. The only thing I don't love about the book is that I wish they could explain I few things a little more. I know I said that there was a lot of detail, but that was for different par ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 27, 2008 Kit rated it liked it
This is a well written version of what I consider the fairly standard historical novel for girls, which mixes some period detail with the OMB revelation that in (insert time period) girls couldn't pick their own husbands. I always find the plucky heroines of these books to be more or less completely interchangable. (They can read, for some reason! They aren't into clothes! They want to pick their own husbands!) It has the standard historical novel for girls ending, which I won't mention in case ...more
Jul 29, 2014 Shannon rated it it was ok
Interesting viewpoint. I was actually previewing this for my 9 year old who is very interested in volcanoes and Pompeii. It is definitely not appropriate for young tweens.
Oct 14, 2008 Jackie rated it really liked it
In 79 A.D., Julia, daughter of a rich Pompeii official and her slave, Sura are more like sisters. They've grown up together in the magistrate's household. Julia, who has a deformed arm is unmarriageable because of it and her parents committ her to a house of a mysterious new cult. Sura is to be sold to a disgusting, lecherous old man to live as his concubine. This fortunately will not happen until after the wedding of Julia's cruel older sister, Cornelia. Both Julia and Sura get wind of their ne ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2014 Katie rated it liked it
A quick read that is great for Jr. High age. It is well thought out and really gets you thinking about the city of Pompeii and the people that died there.
Tj Reads
Mrs. Bohny's rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Oct 06, 2015 Angela rated it really liked it
Pompeii nerds will enjoy this!
Aug 26, 2012 Kaylynn rated it it was amazing
Julia, a young girl living in an ancient world, has a limp arm. Any imperfection can destroy her future, and send her away to a place for girls like her. And only girls like her. As her parents, rich and powerful, try to re-build a temple to save their daughter, Julia finds solace in her slave Sura. But she doesn't really think of Sura as a slave, but as her best friend. When she starts to fall in love with her cousin Marcus, and he she, will Julia leave Sura and run away, or stay for her sister ...more
May 28, 2014 Brenna rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-books
My rating 3 1/2 stars
I loved this book. Some impatient readers might get a little frustrated by some of the character development and slow buildup in the very beginning, but there was immediately geological hints and clues planted by the author to show that the disaster was coming, and that helped the suspense. I recently saw a Pompeii exhibit at a museum, so I loved all the Details this book had. I gave it a PG-13 rating because there is one swear word and a lot of sexual innuendo, although nothing inappropriate ac ...more
Chaya Gornish
May 16, 2014 Chaya Gornish rated it it was amazing
May 20, 2013 Emily rated it did not like it
I did not like the Last Girls of Pompeii. I didnt like it because I was waiting for the volcano to erupt the whole time. The rest of the book was dragged on. I didnt not get the beginning of the book at all. I felt like the volcano eruption should have happened in the middle of the book and after the eruption should be the rest of the book. Next, the author should have told more about Julia and her Aunt after the eruption. Overall, I really didnt like the book because it dragged on too far.
Of course you know the volcano is about to blow but the girls in the story don't know it yet. Julia is of a wealthy family. One siter has just gotten married and the other is getting married. Julia is sick of weddings. Julia has a deformed arm and her parents are making different plans for her. Sura is Julia's slave but best friend too. Julia wishes she could free Sura but Julia's father really owns Sura not Julia. Sura's brother is a gladiator/slave.
May 20, 2013 Brenley rated it did not like it
I personally did not like this book. I think it had no point and it got really boring. The beginning of the book gave away the end, so the whole time I wanted the volcano to erupt. I also thought it was very confusing. I didn't understand why she was being taken to the Temple of Damia or whatever is it. It confused me. I also didn't under the first about 8 chapters. They all confused me a lot.
Sep 28, 2007 Heather rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pompeii, families, weddings, deformaties, slaves, friendship
I'll admit I have a soft spot for historical fiction, but I really really liked this book. First of all, it's Katryn Lasky, so you know it's going to be good. Secondly, I've not read anything set in Pompeii before. This was so realistic, I could picture it all in my mind. In a sense it was like watching "Titanic," you know there is a tragedy at the end, but you need to see how it turns out.
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The LastGirls Of Pompeii 1 9 Apr 13, 2010 04:46PM  
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her latest book, Guardians of Ga'Hoole Book 15: The War of the Ember, was released on November 1, 2008. Guardians of Gahoo ...more
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