I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
This is another book that has a really cool concept that was poorly executed. The main character, Josie Brunswick, is a social outcast. She's an American who's moved to Vienna as a result of her dad's job - he's a medical researcher. Her mother passed away shortly after the move, so not only is Josie trying to navigate a foreign country, she's reeling from the grief caused by her mother's death. She has only one friend, the quirky Fa8 (pronounced "fate"), and has no interest in making more - at least, not with the snobby offspring of minor royalty that attend her school. In the midst of all this, Josie makes a mistake in her father's laboratory and accidentally brings to life a replication of Ludwig von Beethoven. This causes a whole lot of trouble as a scandal about her father's company unfurls, which ends up endangering Josie's life, not to mention those of her Fa8, Beethoven, and her father.
Like I said, cool concept, right? It also was a fast read that held my attention the whole way through - I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. This was definitely a page turner. But there were parts of it that I just kept questioning.(show spoiler)
Most importantly, Beethoven was very one-dimensional, and I feel like Carter just completely ignored any contemporary accounts of him when creating the character. His personality bears no resemblance to that of the Beethoven that we're familiar with. Carter created a character that he wanted to see in the book and named him Beethoven to give the book a plot, in my opinion - and the worst part is that the character is boring. Also, while at first Carter makes a huge deal out of the fact that Beethoven only speaks German, not English, and Josie has to make sure to speak in German to him, after we first meet Beethoven, there's no mention of the language barrier at all, even though it's stated that Josie's German is flawed at best.(show spoiler)
Additionally, the writing was juvenile and immature, filled with cliches. The plot progression was mechanical - it was clear that the author wanted to get from point A to point B, but couldn't think of a way to do it plausibly, so he just made it happen as quickly and sloppily as possible. Many of the characters' decisions did not make ANY sense at all.(show spoiler)
In all, this book was okay, and I think that most teens would probably like it. They'd probably read it and not have too much of a problem believing it, but I think that because I'm reading it as a college student who's analyzing it for a class, its flaws jump out at me, and I'm having a hard time getting past them. I think this is an amazing concept for a book, but the jump from the initial idea to the actual implementation of it didn't really reach its full potential, in my opinion.
If you could bring back anyone from the past and befriend them, who would you choose? Personally, I can't narrow it down to just one person (history major problems, haha), so my top five would be Anne Boleyn (I'm a sucker for Tudor England), Alice Paul (go feminists!), Theodore Roosevelt (BEST. PRESIDENT. EVER.), Alice Roosevelt Longwood (TR's daughter who was basically awesome in every way, look her up), and Thomas Jefferson (I find the many contrasts between his beliefs and his actual life to be fascinating).