destiny rewritten

Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

From even before she was born, it had been decided that Emily’s destiny was to be a poet.  Named after Emily Dickinson when her mother was inspired at a bookstore, Emily’s entire 11-year life has been documented in the margins of a first edition copy of Dickinson’s poems.  When Emily discovers that her mother wrote her father’s name in the margin of one of the poems, she rushes to read the book but a mishap sends it off to be donated to Goodwill.  This begins a search of several used book stores for the book and it quickly becomes apparent that destinies will not be rushed and that there is no way to force them.  But along the way, new friends are made, great books to read are found, and destiny is eventually changed.

Fitzmaurice writes with a wonderful mix of light tone and richness.  She carefully builds her story, creating additional storylines that serve as different strings in the story that are tied together by the end.  Another source of the richness is the way she describes things in the story.  Chapter 4 begins with “So I headed down the hall that Saturday morning with a hopeful feeling that came only on days I was opening a new box of Cheerios…”  This is such a universal image and universal feeling.  The Cheerios play into more of the story along with the prizes in their box.

Emily is an engaging character who struggles with learning patience and the frustration of being so close to the truth and then unable to grasp it.  She comes off as a multidimensional person, again thanks to the richness of the world that Fitzmaurice paints for the reader.  The secondary characters are also well drawn and solidly written.  It is a pleasure to also see poems by Dickinson and her life tied so closely to the lives of modern-day children and families.

Fresh and joyful, this is a novel where storylines click into place like a puzzle.  It will delight children who enjoy reading.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.