Night Tourist by Katharine Marsh

I purchased The Night Tourist by Katharine Marsh after a few students begged me for more stories based on Greek mythology. It was one of the books always on my wishlist but it never made it to the top. I’m glad my students pushed me to purchase it and I can’t wait to pass it on to my mythology buffs.

Jack is a shy ninth grader who lives at Yale with his professor father. A loner, Jack doesn’t do much besides translate Latin and study. He and his father get along well enough but they don’t really talk alot. His mother died in a tragic accident and his father hasn’t been the same since her death. But when Jack gets hit by a car things start getting weird. His father sends him to get checked out by a special doctor in NY but won’t go with him. While in Grand Central Station he meets a girl who says she can show him the real NYC, the underground part. For the first time in his life, Jack decides to take a risk so he goes with her. Little does he know that she isn’t who she seems to be. Suddenly everything Jack knows about his life is turned on its head. Is his mother really dead? Is she somewhere in the Underworld? Is he who he thinks he is?

I already know which student will be getting this book from me tomorrow. He read the Percy Jackson series and finished it before anyone else and he has been begging me for more books based on Greek mythology. I just read his most recent letter-essay and he again asked for more books like Riordan’s. I know that The Night Tourist will satifsy him because Marsh doesn’t mess around in the beginning.  Almost immediately the reader is thrust into the action alongside Jack.  My students frequently complain about books that “take forever to start” but The Night Tourist is not one of those books.   And while I didn’t find The Night Tourist as laugh-out-loud funny as Riordan’s books, it does have its moments.  Plus, as someone who took Latin for 4 years, I appreciate any book that trusts Latin and it’s mythology into the limelight.  And while I love the mythology aspect of the story, I really appreciated the history of New York that was included.  The story includes pieces of the city’s hidden, lesser-known history, including Grand Central’s secret Track 61.  Yes, a secret track!  (It was used for President Franklin Roosevelt’s personal train.)  So cool!

My only complaint is that I didn’t feel like I knew Jack as well as I know Riordan’s characters.  It’s not that he was flat.  He just didn’t have a lot of character development.  I was dying to know more about Euri and wish Marsh had delved into her backstory a little bit more.  However, this was only a minor concern for me and I don’t think it will even register with my Percy Jackson-addicts.  The Night Tourist is a fun, quick read and I look forward to reading the sequel.

*Copy purchased by me

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