Avi. Gold Rush Girl. Fiction. Candlewick, 03/2020. 306pp. $17.99. 978-1-5362-0679-1. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-8.
Tory recounts her experience in San Francisco, where she, her father, and her younger brother have relocated from Rhode Island to seek their fortune in the 1849 Gold Rush. After her father leaves for the diggings, Tory’s brother is kidnapped, and she begins her search for him with the help of new friends: Sam, an African American musician, neighbor Señor Rosales, and Thad who works at the general store. Tory and Thad are default white. The author has created another strong young female character, similar to the title character in The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1990). Tory never makes it to the diggings (although the ending indicates she is going, which would make a great sequel), yet her experiences in San Francisco give an accurate depiction of how many made their money from gambling, retail, and services rather than by finding gold. A map of the abandoned ships found in the city concludes the book, making this especially relevant to Bay Area libraries. Includes California-specific content.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University, iSchool