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Beyond the Mapped Stars

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A adventure, set in the late 19th century, about science, love, and finding your place in the world.

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bertelsen dreams of becoming an astronomer, but she knows such dreams are as unreachable as the stars she so deeply adores. As a Mormon girl, her duty is to her family and, in a not too far away future, to the man who’ll choose to marry her.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in Colorado, she’s tempted by the total eclipse of the sun that’s about to happen—and maybe even meeting up with the female scientists she’s long admired. Elizabeth must learn to navigate this new world of possibility: with her familial duties and faith tugging at her heartstrings, a new romance on the horizon, and the study of the night sky calling to her, she can’t possibly have it all…can she?

368 pages, Hardcover

First published August 24, 2021

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About the author

Rosalyn Eves

9 books660 followers
Rosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings into performing her dramatic scripts. As an adult, the telling and reading of stories is still one of her favorite things to do. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her chemistry professor husband and three children, watching British period pieces, or hiking through the splendid landscape of southern Utah, where she lives. She dislikes housework on principle.


Review policy: I only review books that I enjoyed and would recommend to others (hence the predominance of 4-5 star reviews).

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5 stars
141 (31%)
4 stars
177 (39%)
3 stars
111 (24%)
2 stars
12 (2%)
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4 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 126 reviews
Profile Image for ✨faith✨trust✨pixiedust✨.
398 reviews363 followers
Want to read
January 11, 2020
I was terrified to read Autoboyography because it was written by two people who are not members of the church writing about members of the church, and we're usually portrayed extremely incorrectly, often to the point where I wonder if the authors have ever met a Mormon. While Autoboyography managed to pleasantly surprise me with how human and accurate it was, there were still some big inconsistencies and straight-up falsehoods that irked me a little. The author-duo lived in Utah, but that's not the same as fully understanding the culture of a religion.

Except Rosalyn Eves is a Mormon (technically we prefer you don't use the term but I am for the purposes of this pre-review as it's the well-known colloquial term; I really hope the blurb changes that before publication though). So I'm assuming that she's finally here to bring us justice. I've always wanted to write a book featuring an LDS character but I've been so afraid to because of how people might react, whether in hate, apathy, or simply that I would only be taken seriously within the literature of the church.

I am very excited for this. But I'm really scared too. So if you read this, please read it with an open mind. I know there are people who really don't like Rosalyn Eves' writing. If that's the case, just don't read the book.
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books485 followers
Want to read
July 6, 2019
chanting softly: rare diversity, rare diversity, rare diversity

Profile Image for Andrew Hall.
115 reviews22 followers
November 19, 2021
I thoroughly enjoyed this YA novel about a 1870s rural Utah girls who yearns for higher education and a life of science beyond her community, while also valuing her family and her faith. Eves does a fantastic job weaving well-researched period details and historical figures into the story of her trip to Wyoming and Colorado to help her sister in childbirth and participate in the observations of a solar eclipse. The story dragged a bit at first, but by the middle it becomes engrossing. I appreciate that she included LDS women giving blessings at childbirth, and portrayed the complexities of the struggles to integrate science and faith, and family with a desire to get an education and have a career.
Profile Image for Samantha Hastings.
Author 34 books199 followers
August 28, 2021
1878, Elizabeth is a Mormon girl in Monroe, Utah. She wants to be an astronomer and see the eclipse. Her mother wants her to be a wife. Torn between desire and duty. Faith and science. Elizabeth goes on a trip to help her sister and ends up in Denver, CO to see the eclipse with the help of friends.

Author Rosalyn Eves beautifully explores prejudices, faith, science, family, and ethnicity. Her writing feels authentic, but inclusive. Her main character experiences prejudice for being a part of a polygamous Mormon family, which gives her the insight into how others feel when they are excluded or prejudiced against. Elizabeth is anything but perfect, but she is willing to learn from her mistakes and open her mind.

It’s a truly beautiful book. A perfect read for anyone struggling with how their beliefs fit into their faith.
Profile Image for Amanda (MetalPhantasmReads).
471 reviews29 followers
Want to read
July 15, 2019
The fact that we'll get a Mormon protagonist is everything I could've wanted for YA. We need more religious diversity. Cannot wait for this!
Profile Image for Michael Austin.
Author 142 books238 followers
September 5, 2021
"I've felt lifted by religious faith and prodded by scientific questions, and I don't know if I can sift through my life and pinpoint the moment they diverge. Maybe they don't diverge at all--maybe they're part of the same vast system, but I don't see all the connections yet." (Beyond the Mapped Stars, 324)

It is amazing, and really quite inspiring, how many important issues Rosalyn Eves has managed to fit into her new book, Beyond the Mapped Stars, while telling an engaging story with vibrant characters. The book deals smartly with some of the most fraught subjects in Mormon history--polygamy, racism, and women's equality--while also packing in thoughtful discussions and depictions of faith and science, cross-cultural friendship, family relationships, and the soft tyranny of inflexible expectations. And, most important of all, there is a train robbery, which is as close as a land-locked novel can come to the narrative summum bonum of pirates.

And an eclipse. The organizing event of the novel is the solar eclipse that occurred on July 29, 1878 and brought much of the scientific and literary establishment of the United States out to Colorado to experience it. Our heroine, Elizabeth Bertelsen, is the eighteen-year-old daughter of a polygamous Mormon family who dreams of becoming an astronomer. When Elizabeth gets a chance to travel from her rural Utah home to Wyoming around the time of the eclipse, she takes it, harboring the hope that she might possibly find a way to see the eclipse.

(Slight spoiler alert: She does).

In her travels, she meets and becomes friends with a young black woman named Alice Stevens, and her brother, will--both children of wealthy mixed-race parents. Alice dreams of becoming an artist. The dynamic here is powerful. Both of the young women--Elizabeth the Mormon and Alice the African-American--represent unpopular and persecuted minorities whose options would have been strikingly limited in 1878. The first thing they must do is make room for each other in their visions of the world, and then they have to convince the world to make room for them too. To do this, they both have to go off script--they have to do things that make them extremely uncomfortable and open to rejection. They have to go, well, "beyond the mapped stars."

(Second slight spoiler alert: they do).

Beyond the Mapped Stars is thoughtful and entertaining, and also a lot of fun. The cast is strewn with both famous and less famous historical characters: Thomas Edison, Jane Manning James, Maria Mitchell, Hellen Hunt Jackson, and the Wild-West showman "Texas Jack" (John Omohundro)--just to name a few. A wonderful and engaging book for young women and other humans.

Profile Image for Hailey Hudson.
Author 1 book26 followers
October 30, 2021
Oh, this was EXCELLENT! It felt like a Stacey Lee book — historical fiction that’s engaging, meticulously researched, has a strong heroine, and touches on lesser known historical events while incorporating important themes. I needed to hear the messages about not pursuing dreams so single-mindedly you leave people behind, and how life is “and” not “or” more often than we think. Also, the title and cover are beautiful; I’m always a sucker for anything incorporating astronomy in any way.

“I want a bigger world than that. I want the entire universe, the stars in the sky.”

“Finding a new place for myself does not mean I have to abandon all the places that have claim on my heart: there is room for old and new.”
Profile Image for Claudia.
Author 74 books119 followers
March 4, 2022
Rosalyn Eves spins an enormously engaging story of a young Mormon woman in 1878 torn between her dreams of studying astronomy and her duties to her large family in rural Utah, between her passion for science and her commitment to faith, and between the life she yearns for as as a professional woman studying the stars and the new love she is beginning to feel for a man who could give her the joy of raising a family together. Built around protagonist Elizabeth's desperate hope that she might be able to witness the coming total eclipse of the sun, the story gives a vivid portrait of life in late 19th century Utah and Colorado rich with a series of travel adventures (and terrors) and new friendships (with new tensions) that make for compelling reading. While honoring the historical facts that shape Elizabeth's journey, Eves engages in questions that feel as urgent in 2022 as they did 150 years ago: how DO we balance what we owe to others with what we owe to ourselves? how DO we craft a life that allows room for us to flourish in multiple ways? Eves doesn't deliver easy answers - but she does deliver satisfying ones.
Profile Image for Tasha Seegmiller.
517 reviews40 followers
August 25, 2021
This beautiful book showcases an authentic 1800s "old west," as well as what it may have been like for a girl who has only known the high mountain desert and a world encompassed in religion as home. True to Eves' form, the writing is lush and beautiful, and both readers in and out of faith will come to see how religion and science can align, and that a girl can move into her authentic self.
Profile Image for Kristin B.
318 reviews
November 19, 2021
Though I consider myself a non-practicing Mormon, I was absolutely stunned by this book and haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

There are so many messages here that are important to all girls and young women, but especially to those of the Mormon faith. The idea that you can strive to be someone even though you may be the first is not one that Mormon girls are always taught, but I hope that Elizabeth inspires them in ways that the religion sometimes falls short.

I SUPER appreciated that Elizabeth was able to acknowledge that she too was treated poorly for being Mormon and could find some initial common ground with her Black acquaintances, BUT NEVER SAID THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH PERSECUTION WERE THE SAME. And RE's re-emphasis of this in her Author's Notes got a standing ovation from me. The number of times I've heard White Mormons say they "get" racism because they are Mormons is NOT ZERO, and I am so happy RE and Elizabeth made the distinction here.

I highly recommended this to women of all ages who have any sort of connection with the Mormon faith. I will be gifting this to all the women in my family this holiday season and hope other readers find Elizabeth to be the inspirational heroine that I did.
1,529 reviews
September 14, 2021
I had a lot of feelings as I read this book.

I write this as an LDS person. I have never read a traditionally pubbed book with an LDS protagonist and I cannot say enough how stunned I was at how meaningful this book was to me--to see myself on the pages. This is a book that I wish my teen self had had. This book just totally nails it.

My only complaints were that there were two emotional points that didn't quite resonant in the way I wanted them too, and I felt like the Black experience wasn't fully represented (in terms of barriers and discrimination, specifically). But other than those two (relatively minor) issues, this book just knocked me over with its quality and content. It was so relatable, and so wildly LDS but in the best way possible. She tackled really tough issues, like polygamy and LGBT issues, in such an honest and wonderful way. I cannot overemphasize how emotional it was to read this book. Highly highly recommend, to LDS and non-LDS readers alike. It's an incredible read.
Profile Image for Catherine.
190 reviews5 followers
November 28, 2021
This book hit just right. I knew I was going to like it right from the dedication, which made me tear up a little when I read it: “to the skeptical believers and the believing skeptics: there is room for us too.”

It is slow but thoughtful, and built to a conclusion I truly loved. It’s kind of cool seeing a mainstream YA book dealing with early Mormonism in an accurate but respectful way—the main character deals with some tough things like polygamy and faith vs science, while maintaining a love for the religion that taught her to have a relationship with her Heavenly Parents. That theme really resonated with me, as did the theme of how to balance following your dreams with sacrificing for others. Those are both things I’ve grappled with for all my adult life, and it’s always nice to see yourself reflected in fiction.

My favorite quote:
“Sometimes going to church is like trying to study astronomy and stumbling up against gaps too big to fill with what I know. But other times the sky clears, and I catch glimpses of the infinite.”
Profile Image for Sydnee Allen.
101 reviews
August 19, 2022
I’ve never seen myself so clearly in a book. A girl of science AND faith with many questions and seeking direction in my life 💜

Very fun to read so much about Elizabeth’s experience and see them in my own life: Danish converts, living in Sevier County (and even visiting the hot springs!!), watching a solar eclipse in the middle of nowhere Idaho with new friends, and a love and desire to learn about science.

I would recommend this book to any girl or woman, even men, trying to find their place with religion and science. Although fiction and not totally historically accurate, there are MANY lessons to learn from Miss Elizabeth.
Profile Image for Isabel.
155 reviews
February 10, 2022
The main character, Elizabeth confronts all the problems that we see today (racism, sexism, conflict between science and religion, class differences) all while dealing with the conflicts of a book (train robbery, sick family, love interests). And she just seems to find solutions to the problems way too easily. They way everything worked out felt untruthful. Because they haven't been worked out even 150 years later.

And yet, her relationship with God felt real and truthful. And the book tells the stories that we want to hear. And that's enough.
Profile Image for Bridget.
940 reviews86 followers
November 13, 2021
This book BROKE me into a million pieces. How, HOW is this frontier Utah girl's struggle to forge her own identity among the pressures of family, community, and religion so timeless? (I know, I know, the answer is basically "because the patriarchy is also timeless" but still.) I was not expecting such a journey through my own soul when I picked it up. Exquisitely written, with a beautifully nuanced view of religion - oh my heart.
Profile Image for Elaine.
Author 8 books125 followers
September 3, 2021
This book is beautiful and important, beginning with that gorgeous cover and the dedication that brought tears to my eyes and continuing through to the very last page. An authentic, moving historical tale that also feels so very relevant today, deftly weaving together themes of faith and family and science and listening to the voice within. Absolutely gorgeous.
Author 14 books9 followers
September 25, 2021
This book is a thoughtful and deeply enjoyable exploration of the intersection of religion and science, but more than that, it’s about finding a path for yourself when the world around you seems determined to make you stay in a box.

It’s a must-read, with a very satisfying ending, and left me feeling as cozy inside as anything I’ve read before.
April 18, 2023
My heart was just utterly filled up while reading this beautiful book. The writing is stellar, the characters are relatable, and the themes and questions explored are so thought provoking. The audiobook is excellent as well!
Profile Image for Thatjuliegirl Allen.
269 reviews1 follower
March 16, 2022
I loved this book. So much. Great perspective of an early Mormon that has modern implications, as well. But always felt true to the time period.
Excellent narrator, too.
Profile Image for Soumeya.
82 reviews
April 11, 2023
This was a cute fast read, and I really needed that.

Learned a lot about the LDS church that was not a stereotypical Netflix documentary or Stephenie Meyer.

Profile Image for Rachel.
749 reviews24 followers
April 23, 2022
My friends have been raving about this book--a historical YA novel with a teenage protagonist who wants to become an astronomer, set in 1878 Utah. People are excited that this book with strong religious elements had a mainstream publisher.

I have done a bit of background research into this time period, both for work and for my own interests. Historically, I love how Eves used real people and events as part of her narrative. I especially liked the inclusion of the Women's Exponent. Elizabeth's family situation, taken from one of Eves's own ancestors, is also true to the time period.

Some things I weren't sure made sense for that era. Elizabeth feels a strong pressure to be a woman homesteader and mother, and feels that studying astronomy would be selfish. Was there really a cultural pressure for this? I don't know, I'm just questioning that. I think the panic about women working "outside the home" didn't start until the 1950s. In the pioneer era, of course women had to work. Everyone did. There is certainly a difference between domestic labor and more scholarly work though.

There were a lot of exciting things that happened, one after the other, and I can see this as a narrative device to keep things interesting. I would have been find with a more leisurely pace for "events" (but I'm also not a typical YA reader). Elizabeth meets a ton of people and I couldn't really keep track of all the scientists.

Eves has Elizabeth praying to Heavenly Mother. I'm very curious if this is something she slipped in to convey her own feelings about Heavenly Mother, or if she found historical evidence for the practice (I believe it is anachronous). Elizabeth also ponders social justice issues like her friend's intersection of wealth and race and the advantages and disadvantages this gives her. Again, I agree that this is an interesting topic, but I don't think it's historically accurate. Eves actually addresses this argument in her author's note (which was a really excellent historical summary of some of the issues in the book):
Some may argue that this book is not accurate because Elizabeth and her friends adopt more progressive attitudes in the West toward race than were likely for the era. To this I would say, first, attitudes in the West toward race were as varied as the individuals living there. Second, this is a work of fiction, not a historical study, and some liberties are allowed for the sake of the story. Historical fiction is always a balancing act between the mores of the past and present values.

It's making me think about my assumptions about historical fiction. I think it's hard to pin down how someone would have thought then and convey it to a modern reader. Certainly it's easier, and probably more attractive to an editor, to have characters think in a modern way about race, gender, and religion. And I think because of that, I was able to really relate to Elizabeth in the final pages, when she somewhat predictably chooses . The line that really struck me was after she contemplates the "and" she can have in her life: "And now I do begin to cry, because I have been afraid, because I have been small, because I thought myself trapped by the expectations of others when it has really been my own fears that trapped me." There's a tarot card that I've been thinking a lot about ever since the pandemic began: the 8 of Swords. One of my decks describes it as "trapped, but not really." It shows a person, loosely bound and blindfolded, surrounded by swords. It looks like the person could remove their own blindfold and bonds and simply leave. I have been trapped, like Elizabeth, in my own expectations for what my life should be like, even if those expectations don't match up to my aspirations. To realize that my main obstacle is myself is difficult. To watch Elizabeth go through that helped me to see her in myself and to understand the constellation of beliefs and expectations that lead there.
Profile Image for Susan.
967 reviews64 followers
October 17, 2021
Diversity is the name of the game in YA literature, but I think religious diversity is often ignored. I love the fact that Eves delved into Mormonism (which is my faith, culture, and heritage, as well as hers) in this book. She presented nuances in the religion and lifestyle with sensitivity and humor. She shines a light on the mockery and injustices suffered by our people in the 1800s, something that isn't always known about. I appreciated her insider's view.

All that being said, I still didn't love BEYOND THE MAPPED STARS. While I appreciate that Elizabeth is a young woman who's buckling against what's expected of her and trying to find her own way, I found her to be a selfish, me-me-me kind of character. Sure, she helps out with chores and kid-watching, but she's still a very self-centered person. Her reasons for wanting to study astronomy didn't feel all that compelling to me, which made her story goal feel weak. Honestly, I didn't really care if she saw the eclipse or not. I was never worried that she wouldn't get what she wanted, so I never felt truly invested in her plight. Elizabeth's views on homosexuality, race mixing, women's roles, etc. also felt VERY progressive for a sheltered Mormon girl in the 1800s who's lived in Utah her whole life. That felt inauthentic to me. As far as Elizabeth's romance with Samuel? Bleh. I didn't feel any sparks between the two of them at all.

Plot-wise, BEYOND THE MAPPED STARS is a slow read that gets quite dull in places. It took me almost a week to read the book because between the bland characters and glacial plotting, I just found it so putdownable. Eves' prose leaves something to be desired as well as it feels too simplistic. I wanted deeper digging in both the plot and the writing itself.

I'm not saying there aren't good things about this novel. There are. I like its emphasis on women in science (even though I have little interest in the subject myself), its examination of female work/life balance, and its exploration of the relationship between religion and science. As I said above, I also enjoyed its focus on Mormonism. Unfortunately, though, the characters didn't speak to me much and the story plods along so slowly that I got bored with it. I wanted to love this novel so much and I just...didn't. In the end, it turned out to be just an okay read for me. Bummer.
Profile Image for Alyse.
53 reviews
September 8, 2021
Sometimes it feels like all of the books that are out there are set in New York City or London. So it's a huge treat to read a book in a completely new setting that I've never considered before. That was one thing I loved about Rosalyn Eves' first book set in Hungary. This book is set in 1870s rural Utah, with a young female Mormon protagonist, and I have never come across a story in this setting or with this cast of characters before. I really loved how distinctive this was, and even if the rest of the book hadn't been good, that would still have made it worth reading. Eves did a fantastic job representing the Mormon religion at the time, with all of its positive and negative aspects, in a very real and believable way.

I really loved how Elizabeth Bertelsen, the main character, traveled this journey of struggling between her desires for achievement and learning and her desire to fulfill her family's wishes for her, at a time and in a place where there weren't many opportunities for her. Her dreams of becoming an astronomer and her dreams for a family and her religion felt very applicable to women today. I really loved how Elizabeth was able to validate both desires, instead of giving up one part of herself entirely. It felt much more nuanced than many YA coming-of-age novels in that way.

I am a Mormon, and I personally have ancestors who lived similar lives to Elizabeth Bertelsen's, so that was a personally compelling reason for me to enjoy this book. I also personally identify with many of the issues and conclusions that Elizabeth is wrestling with throughout the book. But I think this could be a book that anyone would enjoy, especially anyone who belongs to any faith and grapples with the demands of their faith.
Profile Image for Kayli Nagel.
54 reviews
February 2, 2023
Sometimes a book comes along and speaks to your soul on a level you weren't ready for. I've rarely seen myself so clearly in a character in a book. Probably because I read a lot of fantasy, and as a stay-at-home mother of 3, I don't relate to characters fighting dragons, exploring new worlds, or saving the day. My life is a lot more boring and mundane than that. Important, yes. But it feels monotonous just the same. As a child, I loved science. My first crush was Bill Nye the Science Guy. I remember rushing home to watch Steve Irwin, Jeff Corwin and the Kratt Brothers. In second grade I was gifted a huge set of animal fact cards that I read over and over again. But as I watched the animal explorers there was something missing. Someone who looked like me. Animal planet had a "Survivor" type game show where the winner was promised their own animal show! A woman won! But her show never got made. Growing up I felt so much like Elizabeth in this book. That my desire to explore the natural world and the animals in it put me at odds with my Mormon upbringing to be a wife and a mother. How on earth could I do both? I can't stay home and raise babies if I'm crossing the globe to study animals. I chose the stay at home mom life because that's what I thought God wanted me to do. But there isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I could be out there, studying the creatures that so fascinated me in my youth. I'm so grateful there is a book like this for my daughter to read. Where she can stop seeing her dreams and the life God wants for her as an "or". A "this" or "that." Instead she can see the "and". That you can have both. My sincerest thanks to author Rosalyn Eves for writing the book my inner child needed.
Profile Image for Cindy.
1,064 reviews
September 6, 2021
Elizabeth is an older teenager living in a small town in Utah. She has a passion for astronomy and learning, but her mother thinks that she's shirking her true duties by spending time in these pursuits. In fact her mom thinks she should consider becoming the polygamist wife of a middle aged man in town. Fortunately for Elizabeth, her older sister is ready to give birth in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and needs Elizabeth to come and help her. Escaping her mother's tightly held beliefs about what Elizabeth should be doing and taking the train to Wyoming gives her a whole new set of experiences. She spends time with a young man who also lives in her community, experiences a train robbery, meets a wealthy mixed race brother and sister, helps her sister, and ends up being able to take the train to Colorado to see the eclipse. Along the way Elizabeth meets several famous people from history and has the opportunity to look at her life situation in different ways.

Elizabeth's story was compelling from almost the very beginning. I was so invested in her figuring out how NOT to become a polygamous wife and at the same time wanted her to be able to see the eclipse! (Having been lucky enough to see the 2017 eclipse in the zone of totality I know what an amazing experience it is and I wanted that for her!) I loved how each chapter counted down the days until the eclipse. I was impressed by her gumption and effort and loved the way it came together in the end.
Profile Image for Jacqueline Firkins.
Author 5 books254 followers
July 1, 2021
Eves has a natural storytelling voice, lyrical but never flowery, deftly unfolding the journey of a young girl trying to reconcile differing views on faith and science as she forges a path for her future. The first half of the book is structured much like a modern road trip narrative, as Elizabeth encounters various perils, allies, and antagonists in her journey from her small, isolated town toward a larger city full of opportunities. The second half follows her struggles in The Big City as she weighs input from members of scientific and religious communities, wondering whose example to follow. Teen readers will relate to the search for the perfect mentor, only to discover that while they can take bits and pieces from several influences, their path won't precisely mirror anyone's but their own.

At heart, the book is a personal story of a girl deciding what future to pursue, but it also thematically focuses on various prejudices and assumptions, be they about race, religion, gender, or class, and how those assumptions can be a barrier to personal and professional fulfillment. I enjoyed the way Eves wove in real historic facts and figures, while never halting the momentum of the story, and when the eclipse finally arrives, we sense the wonder of a girl on the precipice of womanhood, ready to grab her future with both hands and hold on tight.
219 reviews85 followers
August 24, 2021
Finally! A compelling historical narrative centering Elizabeth, a Mormon protagonist with complexity, dimension, and universality. Eves is doing the necessary work of showing how any reader can benefit from reading a story that raises questions about family expectations, choice, ambition, staying true to oneself, integrity, and how to confront assumptions and overcome prejudice in our communities—regardless of the narrator’s religious background. I especially appreciated the BIPOC characters and the incredible cameos from real historical figures, such as Jane Manning James, Thomas Edison, and Maria Mitchell. The historical details sparkle on the page, evidence of an enormous amount of thought and research. Eves portrays the everyday life of these characters and brings to life the under-appreciated aspects of this time and place, such as women’s blessings, the varied opinions on polygamy, and an acknowledgment of a Mother God. This is not devotional, nor whitewashed. It does not romanticize or defend, either. As a result, Elizabeth feels like a timeless constellation many young (and not so young) people will recognize. We need more books like this.

I'll be writing a full review in the Fall 2021 issue of Exponent II.
Profile Image for Ronald Schoedel III.
319 reviews3 followers
October 14, 2021
Great read. I really enjoyed the story arc.

The protagonist is a sincere and well-meaning, yet (like most every teenager) flighty at times, occasionally very selfish and self-centered. I like that our heroine was not an impossibly perfect teenager; such a story would be unbelievable. Sometimes you will want to yell at her. And that's ok since she deserves it. But she learns from her experiences, as most of us as teenagers learn from our stupid and selfish experiences. As an example, with some half-truths and lies Elizabeth nearly ruins an important friendship. This is just so much like a teen drama might play out, which is one of many things that makes the book relatable for modern teens, Mormon or non-Mormon.

Some will say some of the more progressive attitudes of some characters is unrealistic for the time period, but I would dismiss such complaints. They may not have been common attitudes of the time period, but absolutely there were more progressive thinkers then. Eves skims some societal prejudices whilst taking others head on. I really appreciated the balance, as it makes the book come off more realistic and less preachy, allowing for the reader to not be told what to think. A worthy addition to the canon of Mormon YA literature.
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