Young Adult

HISTORICAL:  Kannie hates her life. Ever since her father left her and her mother, everything has turned disastrous. Her mother has started drinking. Shes being bullied at school. The one bright spot is her friend Kristopher. One day a stranger bumps into her and leaves her what she later learns is a banyan tree stick. Throughout history it has been used for making wishes. So, Kannie makes one to be anywhere but here. Her wish comes through, in a startling way - every day brings her to other time periods, from 19th century America, through the witch trials, ancient Greece and more. She comes to realize home might not be the worst place in the world, after all.

The constantly shifting settings makeBanyana dynamical novel rich with historical detail. Historical events are prioritized to such a degree, the reader may feel like reading a history lesson through the eyes of Kannie. Contributing to that is Kannies lack of depth, and even, one might say, personality. The bulk of what we learn of her, we do at the very beginning, and even that isnt particularly enlightening. Her reactions to all the miracles are somewhat muted, too. The scenes changing with each new chapter do help with the pace, but also, in a way, break the book into short stories, making the plot feel unfocused and unclear. 

The message of the book, to always appreciate what we have, since there are worse fates in the world, is a lovely one though, and should be remembered always.

Mimi Smith