Plot Sketch: Gabriella and Evangelia (how cool is that name, btw?) Bettarini, or Gabi and Lia as they call each other, are daughters of archaeologists. Losing their father just six months ago has left a raw spot, but their mother presses on in search of Etruscan sites in Italy during their summer vacation nonetheless, needing a find to support her family. Mom finds it. She finds an ancient Etruscan burial site in Toscana (I'm thinking Tuscany to us American-folk) and when Italian officials show up to close the dig citing a lack of proper paperwork, the girls decide to break the rules and enter a tomb. They find some super fun handprints, place their hands on them, and get catapaulted back to 14th century (1332 I believe) Italy amidst the Florence (or Firenza)/Siena tensions. Literally. Gabi arrives in 1332 minus Lia, but gaining a whole lotta knights fighting right outside her tomb, and she's in skinny jeans! The Forellis save her, and take her to their castle, where she begins her journey to find Lia, encountering total Italian hotties, ancient Italian politics, jealous girlfriends, and too-short dresses along the way.
Verdict: Dude. I loved this book! Had a really hard time putting it down! It was engaging, both emotionally and intellectually. Though, I couldn't really figure out why it was titled Waterfall since there wasn't a waterfall in the book or any mention or reference to one. I loved that the main character was a TALL girl who was smart, beautiful, and capable. YA lit seems to trend toward the short girl, leaving all of us tall girls wondering why. Part adventure, part romance, part amazing, part girl power, Waterfall is sure to make you laugh, squee, and grit your teeth. Plus, it's clean. Squeaky clean. Only one mention of intestines spilling out - but lots of dead knights, and no shortage of blood. But it's not graphic. And there's plenty of kissing ;o)
And I swear when I picked it up I had no idea it was from a Christian publisher, until I googled 'David C. Cook' and found their website. There are mentions of God in Waterfall, and Gabi's complete lack of faith and doubt in God, but it's not preachy at all. I applaud the weaving of a basic teen struggle such as one's belief in a higher power throughout this story, without making it overbearing. As a religious person myself, I often find it hard to read Christian lit. Its contents are so often sold as fact instead of belief and I often don't agree with the tenets of religions similar to mine. This is nothing like that, no selling, no conversions. So don't fret it if your belief in God and eternity and whatnot isn't the same as the masses, and don't let a fear of Christian lit keep you from feasting on this abundance of awesome.