- Key words to describe this book: Diversity and Canadian history and classism and folklore and sexism and racism and adventure! Whoo, that’s a lot for one book to address, but all these topics factor into the story. I guess the best word here is intersectionality? It’s great to see that in a novel for younger readers. Even though this book tackles many subjects, it’s primarily a fun story. You could dig deeper into those topics if you wish, or you could just enjoy it as an adventure book. It has a great premise and kicks off to a strong start.
- I like how the darker side of the CPR’s history is acknowledged. For example, comments are made early in the book about how it was a terrible working situation for Chinese people.
- Will and I have the same hometown, a city where many Métis people live. I was excited to find Mr. Dorian is Métis (111). I’ve never read a fiction book that wasn’t specifically about Indigenous people where there’s a Métis character.
- I was a bit thrown when they dressed Will in yellow face like that wasn’t at all a problem (141). With racism being a forefront subject in this novel, I thought that such disguises would have been handled more sensitively
- I’m not sure about Maren’s role. I think she could have used more fleshing out. It’s great that she spurns Will’s coddling and shows she can make her own decisions and take risks, but I felt that was her only purpose (“Look, girls can act on their own!”). She’s also the only female character of any significance.
- I thought the story was well-paced (though it did slow up a bit in the middle as they moved their performances from class to class). I was surprised when I noticed I was already 50 pages in.
- Oooohhhhh, the description of breakfast makes me want to cry. I want to eat it all!!!! (121)
- Overall, an entertaining and easy read, enhanced by the historical Canadian setting infused with a touch of folk fantasy.