cover image Faithful


Janet Fox, Penguin/Speak, $8.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-14-241413-2

In a historical fiction debut, Fox delivers an emotional coming-of-age story about pampered 16-year-old Maggie Bennet, from an upper class East Coast family. After losing her psychologically unbalanced mother, Maggie's father drags her to Yellowstone, an "alien place where everything seemed huge and overbearing," to create a new beginning. Despite her grief over her mother and having left behind comfortable high-society life in 1906 Rhode Island, she quickly becomes attracted to Tom, a rugged geologist, even as her father arranges her engagement to a controlling, wealthy older man. Fox does little to hide Maggie's spoiled and haughty ways, and in early chapters, readers may find her voice whiny and unsympathetic ("It was unfair that this was happening now. That... Papa would make this unnamed discovery now—it was unfair!"). But as Maggie uncovers the truth about her mother's disappearance, and experiences the thrill of independence, she transforms into a strong, capable, and likable young woman. Despite a sluggish start, Fox surprises readers with unexpected revelations about Maggie's family and offers a spirited finale. Ages 12–up. (May)