Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is the story of Miranda Blackwood and Phillips Rawling. Miranda’s mother died when she was younger, leaving her alone with her now-alcoholic father, Hank. They live on Roanoke Island, the site of America’s first true mystery: 114 settlers disappeared over the course of a few years, never to be heard from again. Until now, that is. When 115 people mysteriously disappear in her small town, Miranda’s father included, no one knows what happened. Later, Miranda’s father is found dead, which adds another layer of mystery onto this age-old tale.
Phillips could not be happier: he was finally off that inescapable island. Sure, it took a lot of hard work to finally get sent to a reforming boarding school, but the endless pranks and bad behavior was worth it. Phillips wanted to get off the island for one reason: the voices were louder there. He can hear the voices of the dead, but it seems that they are all connected to the island. Unfortunately, when all of those people go missing, his father, the chief of police, calls him back home and back to Miranda.
First of all, I found this book very interesting. Roanoke and the mystery that surrounds it has always been one of my favorite history lessons. I love how Bond comes up with a reason for why everyone disappeared and what happened to them. I have never read a book that has to do with Roanoke, so it was a fresh concept for me that I really enjoyed. It was nice how there was no insta-love, too. This book was also unpredictable and I could never see what was coming next. It surprised me multiple times and I’m not that easily surprised.
I found Miranda hilariously funny. She was always cracking jokes and I laughed out loud at some of them. She was also really tough, which I also appreciate. She was never scared of anyone and she took every situation pretty lightly. I could really connect with her character and I liked that she was dorky and said “frak” besides being “too kool 4 skool,” like most YA heroines lately. Another really awesome thing about Miranda was that she loved her dog. I am also obsessed with my dog, so I appreciated it when she thought of him and put his safety on the top of her list, much like I would have done. Most YA novels do not include animals or pets of any kind, so I found her use of animals refreshing.
Phillips was another amazing character. First of all, he is a freaking genius. He’s really good at coming up with plans and scheming, so he’s pretty awesome. He can pretty much get away with anything he wants to and not just because he’s amazingly good-looking, either. He can actually think and his brain gets him out of situations instead of his face. He has all the appearance of a bad-boy, but the temperament of a puppy. He’s the best of both worlds, really.
Overall, I really liked this book!