Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published August 23rd, 2016 by Charlesbridge
“Fourteen-year-old Tess is having a hard enough time understanding what it means to be part white and part Navajo, but now she’s coping with her sister Gaby’s announcement that she’s going to enlist and fight in the Iraq war. Gaby’s decision comes just weeks after the news that Lori Piestewa, a member of their community, is the first Native American woman in US history to die in combat, adding to Tess’s stress and emotions. While Gaby is away, Tess reluctantly cares for her sister’s semi-wild stallion, Blue, who will teach Tess how to deal with tragic loss and guide her own journey of self-discovery.“
The story is taking place in the beautiful outbacks of Flagstaff, Arizona. Think something like this:
Now, I happen to LOVE reading stories about the culture of Native Americans. When I saw the cover and the blurb of this book, noticed it was about running through the gorgeous Mesa, and someone being sent off to Iraq, I thought to myself: this must be one heck of a story!
Since this is a short book, and I can only say so much about it, here’s the pros and cons-approach again.
– Nature. There’s no lack of depictions of it. It is absolutely fantastic to imagine the cracks in the canyons, the waterfalls that are neatly tucked away in the midst of this, and just the general wildness of the country. I hate warm places, but I’m definitely willing to make an exception for this one.
– The spiritual connection with animals.
– The funny old grandmother.
– The fact that this story is dedicated to the real Lori Piestewa, a soldier who was killed in Iraq, and who was a member of the Hopi tribe. The book had an early ’00’s vibe to it. There is the internet and there are cell phones, but it just didn’t feel completely up-to-date to me. Turned out, I was right about that because Lori Piestewa was killed in 2003, and a ceremony in her honour was being held during the beginning of the book.
– A pronunciation guide to all Navajo vocabulary used within the text is included. Pronunciation guides are awesome.
– The length of the book. It was just too short to complete the story in a satisfying way;
– One of the main topics remained unresolved in the end. Which was a total bummer. I actually thought there was something wrong with my ARC when the story just *poof* ended like that.
– Blue, the horse. I seriously wanted to fling my Kindle through the living room when I read the outcome of this part of the story.
I’m giving this book 3 brownies because I liked it, but it could’ve been so much more. I can recommend it if you feel like reading about the Wild West, focusing on the Navajo tribe and spirituality instead of the pew pewing and neverending search for gold mines.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
Links to the book: