Cover image for PaperQuake : a puzzle
PaperQuake : a puzzle
Reiss, Kathryn.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace, [1998]

Physical Description:
264 pages ; 22 cm
Certain that she is being drawn by more than coincidences into the lives of people living nearly 100 years ago, Violet, who feels like the odd sister in a set of triplets, searches for clues to help her avert an imminent tragedy.
Reading Level:
"Ages 10 and up"--cover p. [4].

700 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.3 12.0 31650.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 7.3 17 Quiz: 20096 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



While helping her sisters clean up a building that their parents are renovating, an aftershock of a recent earthquake dislodges a decades-old letter written to Baby V--and Violet is certain that somehow it has been written to her. As more and more mysterious writings from the past tumble into Violet's hands, she and her sisters begin to delve into historical documents and newspaper articles from the 1900s--including the accounts of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake--in an attempt to unravel the mystery. But as the present earthquakes increase in frequency, the girls realize that their time is running out. . . .

Author Notes

KATHRYN REISS is the author of Time Windows, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; The Glass House People; Dreadful Sorry; Pale Phoenix, a finalist for the Edgar Award; and most recently, PaperQuake: A Puzzle. A master of the time-travel mystery genre, Reiss slips between past and present with a callous alacrity that is wondrously effective" (Kirkus Reviews). She lives with her family in Northern California."

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-6. Violet has always felt like the odd man out. One of triplets, she is the nonidentical sister, the frail and sickly one, and now, as an eighth-grade student in Berkeley, California, she's the one who's deathly afraid of earthquakes. Then fate singles Violet out in a new way: she's the one who starts dreaming of saving children in an earthquake and who keeps stumbling upon letters, diary pages, and newspaper articles concerning three young people in 1906, the time of the last big quake. Although the present-day characters keep remarking on the many coincidences that bring the documents into Violet's hands, their comments do little to lessen the plot's dependence on coincidence to drive the narrative. Readers willing to overlook that weakness will find plenty to keep them involved in the novel: Violet's well-drawn relationships with her sister, best friend, and first boyfriend; her insecurities that give way to emerging confidence; and a story that dramatizes the past a bit melodramatically but ties it to a more intriguing present. Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8ÄEighth-grader Violet, a triplet, is fragile and plain compared to her two popular sisters. Suddenly, she begins discovering mysterious messages from the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Old letters and diary entries refer to a girl named "V," who strangely resembles Violet herself in the 1990s, and there are hints that something terrible happened to "V" nearly 100 years ago. As the clues build up, Violet gradually figures out that she is being sent a warning from the past and fears for her life. The messages make Violet stand out from her sisters, and she discovers strength and resourcefulness she never knew she had. The story begins slowly as the various plot elements are laid out. As the clues start to come together, Violet's experiences become more absorbing. The repeated discoveries she makes seem too unlikely and coincidental at first, but when she learns that a force from the past has planted them in her way, it all makes sense. There is true excitement by the climax, as Violet discovers that the Golden Gate Bridge may collapse in a quake, and only she can prevent a tragedy. The resolution is particularly satisfying, as Violet not only saves the day, but resists the temptation to brag about her secret heroism. Although the protagonist is not a fully drawn character, this title should have strong appeal for fans of fantasy, ghosts, and time travel. Readers who persist through the slow beginning will be rewarded with an absorbing and suspenseful adventure.ÄSteven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.