Wrapped – Jennifer Bradbury

wrappedTitle: Wrapped
Author: Jennifer Bradbury

ISBN: 9781416990086
Publisher: Athenenum
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 309
Price: $16.99 (hardcover) $9.99 (paperback)

Genre: Historical Fiction
Interest Age: 12 and up
Lexile Level: 860

Annotation: Unknowingly pocketing a strange artifact from a mummy unwrapping party, debutante Agnes sets off on a crazy adventure.

Plot Summary: Infused with history, humor and romance, Wrapped is an adventure tale featuring a plucky heroine. Agnes Wilkins is not your typical Regency lady. Instead of going to balls and flirting with potential suitors, Agnes rather spend her time reading novels by a Lady and learning languages. But alas, her debut has come and her first event is a mummy unwrapping at the house of Lord Showalter – London’s most eligible and desirable bachelor. There she steals away an object found on the mummy and gets follow by a strange waiter who is mysteriously found dead at the end of the party. This sets off a chain of events with Agnes potentially caught in the middle.

Critical Evaluation: Wrapped is an enjoyable read. One great thing about this novel is the family dynamics presented. Most YA novels do not show a positive relationship between parents and child, so I thought that is a nice touch. While Agnes’ mom does not understand her child’s interest in literature over catching a beau, she still obviously loves Agnes. And vice versus. Agnes’ spunk is unusual for the time period, but her father clearly loves her for her adventurous independent spirit and does not force her to change. I adore Agnes partly because she has a mutual love for Austen and partly because she can speak ten different languages. So envious of that talent. The pacing is steady and made for quick reading. The adventure is filled with fun mishaps and historical detail. While sophisticated readers might easily deduce the villain, the story has a charm that will keep readers going. At least it did for me.

Author Bio: Jennifer Bradbury is the author of the middle grade novel “River Runs Deep” and of several critically acclaimed young adult novels: “A Moment Comes”, “Wrapped”, and her debut, “Shift” which “Kirkus Reviews” called fresh, absorbing, compelling in a starred review. “Shift” was picked as an ALA and a “School Library Journal” Best Book for Young Adults and is also on numerous state reading lists. A former English teacher and one-day “Jeopardy!” champ, she lives with her family in Burlington, Washington. (via Ingram)

Tie to Curriculum Units: 19th Century – Napoleonic Wars

Booktalking Ideas: Mummies, Spies, Regency, Napoleonic Wars, Egypt

Challenge Issues: This fizzy, frothy caper is very unlikely to be challenged, but if it was I would point to the various positive reviews including VOYA’s thought mentioning its classroom potential: “Though slightly different in exact years, this novel would pair well with the classic Count of Monte Cristo as “Old Boney,” Napoleon, indirectly influences both protagonists’ actions. The differences between the two novels would make an interesting comparison on political and social levels.”

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