I've always been fascinated by Pompeii. A city covered by ash, lost and forgotten to be unearthed thousands of years later, frozen in time. This is a book about two girls, living in Pompeii at the time of Vesuvius's eruption. Julia is the daughter of a wealthy and important man. Sura is her slave. They're more like sisters than that power differential implies, though; Julia has no other friends, her oldest sister is cruel to her because of the small, useless arm Julia was born with, and Sura is the closest person to her.
Julia and Sura have noticed strange things going on in Pompeii--a rotten egg smell, fountains that stop running in the night, but they have more important concerns. Julia's parents have been treating her strangely, Sura believes that she's soon to be sold, and then there's the seer in the cave who tells Julia that, when the snow falls in the summer, she has to leave.
Thsi book has so much potential, and while it's definitely an enjoyable and intruiging read, it doesn't quite live up to it. There's a strange twist at the end that isn't fleshed out, a romantic relationship that falls short of heart-hammering, and deaths that just...aren't mournable, because you don't know the characters well enough.