Parry, Rosanne. Last of the Name. Fiction. Carolrhoda, 04/2019. 334pp. $17.99. 978-1-5415-4159-7. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 5-9.
Fleeing violence and starvation in Ireland, 12-year-old Danny O’Carolan and his older sister land in the proverbial fire as they arrive in New York in 1863, which is filled with racial tension and simmering on the edge of the Civil War draft riots. Completely alone and desperate for shelter and food, the enterprising siblings manage to find jobs in domestic service, where Danny hides his dancing feet under a dress to remain with his sister. Colorful descriptions of the tense streets of New York, the harsh realities of class and domestic service and the memories of oppression in Ireland bring the story to vivid life, and the side characters are drawn with care and interest. Specific attention is paid to the origins and result of racial tension between the incoming Irish and free African American populations. An absorbing, eloquent exploration of a historically important city and time from an engaging narrator.
Lesley Mandros Bell, Oakland Library Advisory Commission