May and her friend Liam are eager to spend a summer in Italy, enjoying the time away from Vermont and the thrill of historical research. May is surprised when her ghost-twin from the past appears one night and takes her back in time to a very different Florence, one where the Black Plague runs rampant. Suddenly, May's fears of her parent's dissolving relationship and impending divorce come second to her fear of losing her life (or that of a friend or hot Italian painter boy) to the Plague. The romantic element of this book should not be ignored. Marco, May's Italian painter boyfriend, makes May feel beautiful and whole. All of these elements sort of come together at the dramatic denouement. Read it if you dare.
In books, the improbable is allowed to occur. The reader can suspend disbelief for the story, he or she can believe that time travelling ghosts can pop up out of nowhere, or that best friends can become boyfriends. Perhaps the reader can even believe that teenage girls can follow their ghost-twins back in time to escape the stress of their parent’s crumbling marriage. Or that those same teenage girls can meet steamy painters, and fall into a deep, meaningful relationship all during the time of the Black Plague. But really, are we meant to believe all of this at once? Even the most imaginative and creative books need some sort of grounding, or at least good writing to carry it though. Some of the most far-fetched books attain that status by being so realistic, with only one slightly different aspect. The author can then take this subtle change and run with it. Simplicity is best. This book is an overload of ideas, that all collide to create a massive pile up. I would not recommend it, unless you enjoy being bombarded with a jumble of partially formed concepts.