Cheaney, J.B. I Don't Know How the Story Ends
October 1st 2015 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
During WWI, Isobel, her mother, and her sister Sylvie are miserable in the cold, wet Seattle summer, especially since the father has volunteered to be a medic and letters from the front come rarely. To improve everyone's mood, the girls travel to Hollywood, California to visit Aunt Buzzy, who has married the father of the boy she tutored, Ranger Ball. Ranger's mother was from India, and he is tired of people looking at him because he is different, and gets in trouble at school. His true passion lies with film making, and he and his friend Sam (whose father is a cameraman), have lots of ideas for films they want to make. At first, Isobel isn't thrilled about Ranger OR being in California, but when she is shown films and the film studio lots, she is intrigued as well. She and Sylvie are recruited to act in some of Ranger's attempts, but when the three older children come up with a war film they hope to show to a "real" filmmaker, Isobel starts to understand why films speak so strongly to people. She is both worried about and angry with her father for going to France, and when he comes home unexpectedly, she must come to terms with his injuries as well as her mother's growing interest in the film community.
Strengths: The early 1900s are an interesting time period, but there are relatively few books set during that time. This is somewhat similar to Tubbs' Selling Hope (which includes Buster Keaton instead of Charlie Chaplin), and the information about the early film industry is fascinating. The inclusion of information about WWI makes sense as well.
Weaknesses: This was a bit long, and could have been tightened up if there were less about various films and more about everyday life During this time.
What I really think: Will order a copy, but this may take some hand selling to get students to pick it up.