Today, I'm sharing an early review of Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez. I've heard a lot about her writing through the years, but haven't had the chance to read her work until now.
MMGM is a feature hosted by (fabulous) author Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: August 25th 2015 by Scholastic Press
Format read: ARC via publisher
Christina Diaz Gonzalez has created a fast-paced adventure that will pull readers in, and absolutely have them begging for more.
Cassie Arroyo, an American studying in Rome, has her world ripped apart when someone tries to kill her father, an art history professor at an Italian university. Is she their next target?
Cassie sets out to uncover what is happening, only to learn that she is a member of an ancient bloodline that enables her to use the Spear of Destiny--a legendary object that can alter the future. Now running from a secret organization intent on killing those from her bloodline, Cassie must--with the help of some friends--decipher the clues that will lead her to the Spear.
Christina Diaz Gonzalez has created a fast-paced thrill-ride of a book, rich with riddles and myth, that young readers will not want to put down.
In Moving Target, Gonzalez introduces us to Cassie, a teen who is living and studying abroad in Rome. Life is normal, until her father suddenly appears at school one day, and tells her that her life is in danger. Now, as Cassie goes on the run, she must try and understand her destiny, and a spear that may change her path forever.
From the first page, Gonzalez unabashedly throws Cassie and the reader head-first into the action. We're given very little initial explanation for just who or what is happening to Cassie, which amps upt the tension and the stakes, as she's forced to work backwards to understand a heritage that has been kept from her.
As Cassie delves deeper into the Spear of Destiny and her role with the sphere, Gonzalez creates an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones - high praise from me, trust me - sending Cassie, her best friend and a reluctant guardian, on a multi-layered quest across Italy. Though Gonzalez doesn't dwell a lot on Cassie's surroundings, her descriptions of Italy will likely intrigue younger readers, and encourage them to research what's described in the book.
Both the historical and self-created mythological elements of the book are also well-written; Gonzalez has clearly done her research, and it's a nice introduction to the country's beautiful, complex history. Her personal mythology works as well; it's very easy to see how the background of Cassie's legacy has evolved throughout the ages.
Outside of the non-stop action, Gonzalez also makes it a point to focus on the more emotional aspects of Cassie's journey. Revelations are made throughout the book about Cassie's friends and family, and Gonzalez does a nice and subtle job of challenging readers on what constitutes a family - loyalty or blood? - which readers will undoubtedly appreciate.
Bottom line: Gonzalez has created an intricate, fast-paced world that help the imagination of readers soar, and they will undoubtedly want to visit and revisit Cassie's world. This is the perfect book for summer reading, and for reluctant readers.
Highly recommend for all readers, especially for reluctant readers who are looking for a fun summer read that will get hearts and minds racing!
About the author:
Christina Diaz Gonzalez is the award-winning author of The Red Umbrella and A Thunderous Whisper. Her books have received numerous honors and recognitions, including the Florida Book Award and the Nebraska Book Award. They have also been named the American Library Association's Best Fiction for Young Adults, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, and the International Reading Association's Teachers' Choice. Learn more at christinagonzalez.com.