Book Review: Waterfall

review-cover-waterfallTitle: Waterfall [River of Time 1]

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Historical, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars




Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaeologist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds…until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.


I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into when I picked up Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren. I knew it was a YA, Time Travel book, and I’d read a few 1-3 star reviews (as is my habit. I want to know the bad points of a novel before I get into it)… but my hopes for the book weren’t particularly high.

Let me preface this review by saying: The cover has nothing to do with the book, and neither does the title. There are no waterfalls in this book, and no glowing doorways. Zip. Nada—and honestly… who cares? This book was fan-freaking-tastic. Waterfall is the story of two girls, sisters, who inadvertently time travel back seven hundred plus years into the Dark Ages. Separated and unsure of how to get home, Gabriella (the older of the two sisters) attempts to blend in with the new world around her, and finds herself caught between two factions of the war-torn countryside. War, Politics, arranged marriages… Gabi can’t seem to avoid any of it, and all she really wants is to find her sister, Lia, and return to their own time. She doesn’t know that she’s about to fall head-over-heals for the dashing (and already taken), Marcello.

There were a few aspects of this story that weren’t ideal. It was a little convenient that Gabi spoke both Latin, French, and ancient Italian, and was handy with a sword. Also, despite no evidence to support her claims, she had little trouble claiming to be a Lady of Normandy. I couldn’t help but feel that things sometimes fell into place a little too easily for the teen, but considering this book was written for the YA crowd, I’m hesitant to dock it points. Whatever negative aspects there were to the story, they were eclipsed by the positive.

This story was filled with daring sword battles, nefarious trickery, political drama, heart-stopping romance, and hilarious teen hijinks set against the gorgeous backdrop of ancient Italy. The world building was wonderfully done, and the characters were full of personality and depth. The little asides of modern-day slang and sensibilities made Gabi a witty and unforgettable character. I found myself sucked into the story from the very beginning, and even laughed aloud on several occasions. When the last page was turned, I literally clutched my hand to my chest and stared at my kindle, horrified. I didn’t want it to end.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, and I’m appalled to discover that there’s two books in the 5-book series that I don’t own yet. That will be remedied immediately. I would gladly recommend this to anyone who enjoys YA fiction, and I will certainly be continuing on with the series.