Everlasting by Angie Frazier (Published by Scholastic, June 1, 2010)
Seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen's mother died giving birth to her, or so she was always told. So she was raised by her father, a sea captain, who would take her along on his ship once she was old enough. But now that she is a young woman, she must do what all proper young women in 1855 San Francisco do - marry a suitable man. And the man who asked her to marry him, Randall Jackson, is kind and handsome, and marrying him will help her father's business. But no matter how hard she tries, Camille is unable to love Randall. As she sets off on her last sea voyage before her wedding, she hopes that by the time she returns she will be ready to marry Randall. But the sea voyage, and the separation from Randall, does the exact opposite, as it reawakens her feelings for Oscar Kildare, a sailor on her father's ship whom Camille has always liked.
Not long into the voyage, however, Camille discovers a terrible secret. Her mother is alive, and abandoned her husband and child years ago, when Camille was a baby. All these years, her father has kept that secret from her. Her mother fled to Australia, carrying with her a mysterious map. Now she is dying, and has asked to see her husband and Camille one last time. But before Camille can come to terms with this information, their ship sinks in a storm and Camille, Oscar, and one other sailor are the only survivors. They are rescued and travel on to Australia, but then Camille learns that the map her mother had leads to a legendary magical stone said to grant the power to bring someone back from the dead. Camille believes she can bring her father back to life with this stone. But her father's business rival is also looking for the stone, with a much more sinister purpose in mind. And as they travel through the Australian wilderness, racing him to the stone, Camille grows closer to Oscar and begins to doubt her impending marriage to Randall even more.
Everlasting is one of my favorite books so far this year. It is full of history, adventure, magic, and romance, with a unique setting for a young adult novel. There are many twists and turns to the plot that I did not expect. My one complaint was that I wish Camille and Oscar had just admitted their feelings for each other earlier, since it was so obvious, but that's just a minor complaint, and their romance was really sweet. This book stands alone well on its own, but there will be a sequel published June 2011 that I can't wait to read. If you enjoy young adult historical fiction, fantasy, or romance, I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.