Genre: YA historical fiction
Pages: 320 (hardcover)
To Be Published: May 24th, 2011 by Atheneum
Recommended for: fans of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, fans of adventure and historical fiction
Tagline: Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.
Wrapped is a quick read, fast-paced and lighthearted and guaranteed to coax a smile or two out of most everyone. I was immediately drawn in by that beautiful cover illustration, and have to say that it suits the book perfectly. This is a historical YA novel (set in Regency England) with echoes of fantasy and myth, but then again it has a little bit of everything: mystery, intrigue, humor, and romance. Not to mention a cool background in Egyptology and a mummy's curse.
Our heroine Agnes is the most endearing protagonist I've read about in a while, despite that awful name of hers. (Ugh. Agnes. I just hate it!) Her well-meaning mother despairs that despite her good looks, Agnes isn't particularly concerned with her upcoming society debut-- the graduation of a Regency England girl from childhood into her social Season before marriage. Agnes is too busy hitting the books, dreaming of faraway exotic places, and perfecting her skills in language (all ten of them that she speaks fluently, mind you) to care much about gowns and debutante parties, or even Lord Showalter-- the wealthy young gentleman with a passion for collecting rare artifacts who has begun to court her. But when she attends a glamorous party Showalter is hosting, Agnes finds her interest piqued at last. By a two thousand year old Egyptian mummy, no less. What Agnes finds wrapped within those ancient bandages sends her on a quest to discover more about the secret she has accidentally unleashed-- along with a mummy's curse which seems to have befallen high society since the unwrapping.
In the British Museum, she meets Caedmon-- a handsome and slightly nerdy young curator whose passion for Egypt and discovering the meaning of the mummy's curse rivals Agness' own. But there's no time for Agnes to dwell on nerd love (Aww. I love it!). The fate of Great Britain itself may well be at stake, as the mummy conspiracy all seems to link back to one person: Napoleon Bonaparte, the French emperor who has been hostile to Britain for years. Swathed within the bandages of this one mummy, stolen from faraway Egypt, Napoleon may have hidden his secret weapon-- it lies to Agnes and Caedmon to decode and destroy it for the sake of all England.
This book was tons of fun to read, and the characters of Agnes and Caedmon were very endearing-- they're lovable nerds, and their interactions were just too funny. There's a twist at the end which I kind of guessed, but nothing is painfully predictable. The storyline reminded me of that immortal, cult-classic movie: The Mummy in several respects, but it was original enough. I really hope Jennifer Bradbury writes a sequel to Wrapped-- another adventure for Agnes and Caedmon together, where maybe they get to go on one of the archeological excursions they both dream of and discover some other mythical curse or ancient mystery or whatever. This would make a fantastic start to a YA series.
Plot: 4/5Overall Rating: 4/5
*Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the review copy*