Not since THE BOOK THIEF has the character of Death played such an original and affecting part in a book for young people.
Flora and Henry were born a few blocks from each other, innocent of the forces that might keep a white boy and an African American girl apart; years later they meet again and their mutual love of music sparks an even more powerful connection. But what Flora and Henry don't know is that they are pawns in a game played by the eternal adversaries Love and Death, here brilliantly reimagined as two extremely sympathetic and fascinating characters. Can their hearts and their wills overcome not only their earthly circumstances, but forces that have battled throughout history? In the rainy Seattle of the 1920's, romance blooms among the jazz clubs, the mansions of the wealthy, and the shanty towns of the poor. But what is more powerful: love? Or death?
The odds against Henry and Flora becoming a couple are significant: Henry is white, Flora is black, and this is Depression-era Seattle. But their similarities outweigh their differences; at 17, they're both orphans, musicians, and unbeknownst to them the current players in the centuries-old contest between Love and Death. Death's player, Flora, is a singer and aspiring aviatrix; Henry, chosen by Love, plays bass and baseball. Airplanes and music bring Henry and Flora together, and though they feel something immediately, Flora, with a pessimism born of experience, is sure it can't work. Love and Death are on the scene in human guises, manipulating people and events, and the book is really a tale of two couples: Henry and Flora, as well as the ultimate opposites-attract pair, Love and Death. Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention) never sugarcoats the obstacles facing Henry and Flora's love whether human prejudices or supernatural manipulations in this inventive and affecting novel, and the ending in which Flora, who has seen too many people die, realizes how love and death intertwine, is beautiful. Ages 12 up.