Book of the Day: The Unresolved by T.K. Welsh

October 3, 2007

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The Unresolved is a historical mystery about the General Slocum steamboat fire. The steamboat fire was the worst disaster in New York City until the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. Sadly, this fire and shipwreck, in which over 1,000 people lost their lives, has largely been forgotten today. The cause of the fire was never determined.

On June 14, 1904, members of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church boarded the steamboat on the way to their annual end of Sunday School class picnic. Most members of St. Mark’s were German immigrants. The story is told by the ghost of one of the trip takers, fifteen-year-old Mallory Meer. Mallory has a secret rendezvous to meet Dustin, a young Jewish boy she has a crush on and who also happens to be her father’s apprentice. Their secret meeting does not last very long, because soon after the immigrants board the ship, the fire starts. The life jackets were made of cork, and they disintegrated, allowing people to drown instead of float. The life boat bolts were rusted to the side of the boat and all water hoses burst making both items of no use to the trapped passengers.

Mallory’s ghost chronicles the aftermath of the fire and shipwreck. She attends the coroner’s inquest, which were of great interest to the community. Historical records indicate that over 600 families lost someone in the fire and shipwreck. Mallory follows the life of the key players of the shipwreck throughout the course of the rest of their lives. The Unresolved is a great quick read for those who like historical fiction or who want to know more about this forgotten tragedy.

The Unresolved is a nominee for the Teens Top 10. To request it from the library, click here. If it’s your favorite, don’t forget to place your vote during Teen Read Week, October 14-20, 2007.

Review by Marci @ Duraleigh Road Library

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