BEYOND THE MAPPED STARS, by Rosalyn Eves, Knopf Books for Young Readers, Aug. 24, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (Young Adult)
A Mormon girl dreams of a future beyond marriage and family in Rosalyn Eves’ fantastic YA novel Beyond the Mapped Stars.
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? —Synopsis provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers
The moment I heard about Beyond the Mapped Stars, I wanted to read it. As the descendent of Mormon pioneers, the description spoke to me. And though its outcome was not the norm for most Mormon girls of the time, the book rings true. And it doesn’t just ring true for the time period. Many readers will recognize parallels to contemporary life, as well.
I finished reading Beyond the Mapped Stars two weeks ago. I wanted to let it sit for a while before reviewing it. It’s been on the edge of my mind ever since, poking its way forward from time to time, percolating.
The thing is, you don’t forget this book. Elizabeth’s dreams resonate clear and strong. She is smart and bold. She is dutiful. But not just dutiful to her family, she’s dutiful to herself. It’s that strength that sticks. Though this is Elizabeth’s story, the supporting characters are also beautifully explored.
Though author Rosalyn Eves’ excellent character building is the star of the show, her ability to transport readers to another time and place should not be forgotten. I felt the heat and tasted the dust of southern Utah; smelled the crisp air on Pikes Peak; and felt all the bumps and bruises from wagon and train travel.
Though technically written for young adults, I can see Beyond the Mapped Stars appealing to a large cross-section of readers — new adults, adults, fans of Mormon fiction and fans of Western/frontier historical fiction (think Sandra Dallas).
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