Amy’s Marathon of Books: Namesake, by Sue MacLeod

January 30, 2014

cover of Namesake

Title: Namesake
Author: Sue MacLeod
Publisher: Pajama Press
ISBN: 9781927485293
Book source: my local library

Province: Nova Scotia

Synopsis (from the author’s website):

The Booke of Prayre is tiny, beautiful, and incredibly old. Jane Grey has no idea how it got mixed up with her library books. She reads a passage aloud and slips back in time to Tudor England. There, she comes face to face with Lady Jane Grey, the teenager who was queen for nine days before being imprisoned and executed for treason. Jane starts visiting her new friend in the Tower of London whenever the present gets too hard to handle—a fickle best friend, an impossible crush, and a mother spinning out of control. The two girls’ lives begin to intertwine. Can one Jane save the other? Can they help each other find the courage they need to face two very different fates?


For a relatively short book, Namesake covers a lot of ground – there’s friend drama, family drama, and romance drama, not to mention time travel and the desire to save a queen from beheading! MacLeod handles this complexity with skill, however, and I never felt rushed or confused as the various subplots intertwined. I loved the historical details of Lady Jane’s captivity, and there’s a lot of humour in the interactions between present-day Jane and historical Jane that reminded me of the struggles modern students have understanding Shakespearean dialogue and customs. The present-day plot is set in Halifax, which made this book extra fun for me, because it’s always a treat to see my hometown in print!

Time travel plots are tricky to make believable, but MacLeod provides just enough explanation to allow me to suspend my disbelief and get on with enjoying the story. The only question that was never resolved to my satisfaction is how modern Jane came by the prayer book in the first place – why would it magically appear in her school bag one day? If you can get past that, however, it’s all good.

In a lot of ways, Namesake reminds me of a less-mature Revolution (by Jennifer Donnelly). If you or your teen reader isn’t quite ready forAmy's Marathon button the gritty side of YA, Namesake is a great choice.

Namesake is my first stop for Amy’s Marathon of Books, which is bringing awareness to the range of wonderful teen books written by Canadians, AND raising money to launch a new teen book award. For more info, visit Amy’s website. And click the button to donate!

The Fox Talk blog tour has been a whirlwind! Thanks to everyone who’s hosted this week – check out their blogs for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a free author Skype for a school or library of your choice! Full tour schedule on my Upcoming Appearances page.

Mother Daughter Book Reviews (Launch)
Books Direct (Author Interview)
Victoria Simcox’s Blog (Guest Post)
Once Upon a Time (Review)
Baby Bookworms in Black Words – White Pages (Review)
Giveaway Breaking News for Indonesia (Book Spotlight)
Generation iKid (Guest Post)
BeachBoundBooks (Review)


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