One Sentence Review: A one-of-a-kind historical tale that will transport you directly to revolutionary America, this novel is perfect for any Hamilton fan, despite minor flaws in character and plot.
1777. Albany, New York.
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.
Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. (Summary from Goodreads)
I was SO excited for this book: when the ARC arrived at my door, I screamed and ripped open the package like some sort of wild animal. I mean, the cover is GORGEOUS, plus it’s Hamilton. In a YA novel. Need I say more?
While I did enjoy this book, though, I wasn’t the biggest fan. The story definitely dragged at parts, and I sort of got the sense of insta-love when it came to Alex and Eliza’s relationship. That being said, however, for someone who doesn’t normally like historical books, this novel was light and fun in a way most historical stories aren’t.
So this may be my bias from having listened to the soundtrack too many times to count as well as seeing the musical live, but I was missing some of the strength and intelligence from all three of the Schuyler sisters (which, on one hand, might actually make the story more realistic, but I still found myself searching for more). Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely in there, especially on Eliza’s part, but a lot of times the sisters, to me, came across as somewhat ridiculous. I also would’ve liked to see more of Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy engaging with each other rather than witnessing a lot of Eliza simply denying her love for Hamilton and spending time with her aunt.
The characters I did love, though, were Hamilton, Lafayette, and Laurens. Their incredible friendship through hardship was so remarkable, and I deeply admired each of their optimism and ability to make light of their situations.
As I mentioned earlier, the plot of this book was fantastic, but had its moments where not much was happening. The story would be moving along nicely when all of a sudden a ton of information would be dropped on us, which essentially put the story on pause. While I do think getting a lot of the information contained within these interspersed history lessons was important, I just wish they had been better incorporated into the story itself rather than simply added as an extension of the plot.
What I did appreciate about this book was the undoubtedly huge amount of research de la Cruz must’ve put into it. She transformed what likely would have been complicated stories filled with unintelligible language into a rather simple story any reader could understand and learn from.
Overall, this novel was a unique historical tale that I really enjoyed getting to witness: while I was somewhat disappointed by the Schuyler sisters and thought the plot lagged at certain parts, I really loved hearing more about Alex & Eliza’s story.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!