The Night Tourist will satify readers who love mythology but not bore them with the same old talk of gods and goddesses that seem to be overplayed in YA literature. The Orpheus myth is a classic and one that many young readers may not have been introduced to yet. Even so, this reinterpretation seems fresh and new with the inclusion of more modern history of New Haven and New York City. As Jack experiences the local attractions of New York, the readers experiences them as well with the benefit of Marsh’s detailed descriptions. At first, the descriptions of New York locals seem exciting, especially for readers who dream of visiting the Big Apple. However, by the end of the novel, its starts to feel as if Marsh really wished to write a New York City attractions guide for children, as many of the visits the characters make generate no character development. Still, for those readers who love history and love New York, The Night Tourist will be a pleasant read.
The novel also deals with some hard hitting themes. The loss of a parent is central to the story as Jack takes advantage of his journey to the Underworld to try to find out what happened to his mother. As readers continue through the book, they will find out some shocking secrets about Jack’s parentage, although connected to the fantasy element of the novel, it could have better connected to the greater theme of the novel, that is the value in being alive. When Jack finally meets his mother, the reader expects an emotional meeting. But the whole scene is rushed making the scene feel unrealistic and leaving the reader feeling frustrated. Nor does the brief reunion connect back to the theme of the book. It it lucky that the author has spent much time crafting the character of Euri, Jack’s ghost guide/friend, to carry along the theme and the plot of the book to its final resolution. Without the ending scene in this book, the story would feel unfulfilled. Ultimately, it is the author’s descriptions of the main characters and New York sights that make this book an enticing read.
Does it have a Young Adult Label?: No.
Recommended if you like: Ghosts, Greek Mythology, History, Trips to New York, Flying, Secret pasts, Books in a series