Genre: YA Sci-fiction
Pub. Date: February 1, 2011
Source: Personal copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds...until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting."
Gabi and Lia Betarrini spend every summer in Italy with their mother who is an archeologist. The sisters long for a normal summer that every teenager could hope for, but being at the Italian countryside leaves them bored. The girls venture into one of their mother's archeological sites and are somehow transported back to 14th century Italy where there are knights, courts, castles, and chivalry. Gabi's summer has drastically changed; she finds herself in a strange world without her sister and her mother. She must adapt to the different lifestyle, the family feuds, dangerous sword fights, while all still trying to be transported back home. Fans of historical fiction will adore Lisa T. Bergren's Waterfall, a romp through 14th century Italy filled with action, romance, and time travel.
Gabi is a strong protagonist that is to be admired. She isn't a wimpy girl who lets things happen to her; she is quite the opposite. Her love interest, Marcello, an Italian prince and knight, will have many teenage girls swooning at his combination of wit, good looks, humor, chivalry, kindness, and sword fighting. The relationship between Gabi and Marcello is nothing but sugary sweet, so if you are looking for more of a steamy read, be sure to look elsewhere. Waterfall is definitely a PG read that I easily put, without hesitation, on my classroom bookshelf. In fact, many market this book as Christian fiction, but please know that I barely even noticed any Christian undertones.
The setting is incredible; who doesn't love Italy, especially when it involves knights in shining armor? I know many of my 7th grade girls would love this book! The time travel really was fun. Reading about Gabi adapting to a 14th century lifestyle was quite interesting and having her struggle between being a modern female versus what they expected females to act like in the 14th century really gave readers something to think about.
If you are looking for a delightful and very sweet novel, Waterfall, is a must read; in fact, it is part of a series called the River of Time. Waterfall ends with many questions still unanswered, so readers can pick up the rest of the books in the series, Cascade and Torrent, which are currently available. At least readers don't have to wait for far off publication dates; they can dive right in!
*Read the prologue and chapter one
*Watch the book trailer