#ARC #Review: Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys #HistoricalFiction

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing an ARC for the North American release of Rachel Rhys’ novel Dangerous Crossing. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, particularly fiction that focuses on WWII and it’s lead up, this is one is definitely one for you. Filled with mystery, romance, and genuine variety in the characters I simply couldn’t put this sucker down.


dangerousTitle: Dangerous Crossing

Author: Rachel Rhys

Publisher: Atria Books

Expected Publication Date: January 9, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Themes: WWII, Class Stratified Society, Antisemitism,    Impossible Romances, Based on a True Story

Features: Historical documents


My Rating: 4/ 5


Synopsis

From Goodreads…

The ship has been like a world within itself, a vast floating city outside of normal rules. But the longer the journey continues, the more confined it is starting to feel, deck upon deck, passenger upon passenger, all of them churning around each other without anywhere to go…

1939: Europe is on the brink of war when young Lily Shepherd boards an ocean liner in Essex, bound for Australia. She is ready to start anew, leaving behind the shadows in her past. The passage proves magical, complete with live music, cocktails, and fancy dress balls. With stops at exotic locations along the way—Naples, Cairo, Ceylon—the voyage shows Lily places she’d only ever dreamed of and enables her to make friends with those above her social station, people who would ordinarily never give her the time of day. She even allows herself to hope that a man she couldn’t possibly have a future with outside the cocoon of the ship might return her feelings.

But Lily soon realizes that she’s not the only one hiding secrets. Her newfound friends—the toxic wealthy couple Eliza and Max; Cambridge graduate Edward; Jewish refugee Maria; fascist George—are also running away from their pasts. As the glamour of the voyage fades, the stage is set for something sinister to occur. By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and Lily’s life will be changed irrevocably.


My Review

I went into this novel expecting a murder mystery, but once it became clear that this was more of a character driven book than an action driven one, I was completely on board for the emotional rollercoaster ride. The opening passage detailing the arrest in Sydney was enough to get me hooked, and I was utterly thrilled when I was blind sided upon discovering who our arrestee was at the end. It’s not too often I don’t guess the guilty party, so this one totally takes the cake for surprise plot twists.

Lily was a wonderful narrator to follow, especially given her social standing and the rare opportunity she had to make connections on her journey. I really enjoyed how aware she was of her station within this class stratified society, and the open acknowledgement that she knew she could never carry out the same type of interactions once off the ship. Also, the fact that the event that she was running away from wasn’t revealed until right at the end really worked for me. I was constantly pushing through to find the next tidbit from her flashbacks, and constantly desired to know more about Robert and Mags. By the end I was entirely willing to forgive Lily’s relative meekness, and instead found myself lauding her strength and bravery despite it all.

I was surprised, however, to discover how much sympathy I had for both Eliza and Max. Sure, they are toxic, narcissistic, idiopaths who toy with the lives of people for their own amusement, but there was something about their story that was so tragic that I simply couldn’t hate them. Okay, maybe Max, but as much as I disliked Eliza for being so insipid at points I never really hated her. Perhaps it was her moments of genuine vulnerability with Lily that endeared her to me despite her many scandals, but it was refreshing to read a female character that was an honest villain, as well as honest about her needs and emotions. Bravo!

All of the other characters – Edward, George, Helena, Ida, and Maria – were incredibly well crafted as well. I enjoyed how bit by bit the motives behind everyone’s actions were revealed, and that once that final piece fell into place that there was this ‘aha’ moment where you finally get them. And, I was even more surprised to learn that despite this being a work of fiction, that all of the major characters were based off real people who sailed on the Orontes at the same time as the real Lilian Dent. And while the story came across as genuine and believable right from the get go, once I learned the inspiration behind it all I was entirely sold.

Finally, the fashion and period elements in this book were absolutely spot on! Everything from the dresses – whether to be corseted or not – to the swimming costumes had me waxing poetic about pictures of my grandparents at that age. And, I think it’s important to mention, that just as much detail was paid to apparel of the men as the women. I think I would have killed for Eliza’s evening gown from the ball on the last night, and maybe even the peach silk dress that she loaned Lily during the passage. Considering the role that clothing plays throughout the book, especially how much it can say about a person, I would kill to see this novel cast as a movie.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it ended up being so much more. Perhaps its not the fastest pace book out there, but the depth and detail create a dream world in which it is easy to get swept away. I’d suggest this vibrant and enthralling read to just about anyone as it can’t be pigeon-holed into just one genre.


Many thanks to Rachel Rhys and Atria books for providing an advanced copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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#GraphicNovel #Review: Kobane Calling by Zerocalcare

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing Zerocalcare’s stunning work of graphic reportage, Kobane Calling: Greetings from Northern Syria. Following in the footsteps of comics journalism greats such as Joe Sacco, Zero captures a series of gritty journeys into the war torn Middle East to observe the Kurdish resistance in Syria. Haunting, beautiful, and simultaneously humorous this timely work of nonfiction is an apt alternative to politicized mainstream news.


kobaneTitle: Kobane Calling

Author: Zerocalcare

Publisher: Lion Forge

Originally Published: April 11, 2016

Publication Date: October 17, 2017

Genre: Graphic Novel, Nonfiction, Comics Journalism, Autobiography

Themes: War, ISIS, Reportage, Economics, Politics, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Kurdistan

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4 / 5


Synopsis

From Goodreads…

KOBANE CALLING is the autobiographical memoir of a young Italian cartoonist, writing and drawing under the nom-de-plume Zerocalcare, who volunteers with the Rojava Calling organization and heads into the Middle East to support and observe the Kurdish resistance in Syria as they struggle against the advancing forces of the Islamic State. He winds up in the small town of Mesher, near the Turkish-Syrian border as a journalist and aid worker, and from there he travels into Ayn al-Arab, a majority-Kurd town in the Rojava region of Syria. As he receives an education into the war from the Kurdish perspective, he meets the women fighting in the all-female Kurdish volunteer army (the Yekeineyen Parastina Jin, or Women’s Defense Units), struggling to simultaneously fight off the Islamic State even as they take strides for Kurdish independence and attempt a restructuring of traditional patriarchal Kurdish society. In a story and style at once humorous and heartbreaking, Zerocalcare presents clear-eyed reportage of the fight against the Islamic State from the front lines. Originally published in the Italian weekly INTERNATIONAL.

 


My Review

Being a die-hard fan of Joe Sacco I was incredibly excited to check out Kobane Calling when it was offered on NetGalley, and Zero’s depiction of the conflict in the Middle East certainly lived up to my expectations. It was gritty, real, and expertly balanced outward perspectives with lived experiences. I found it refreshing to see that Zero visited multiple locations and sought to obtain a variety of perspectives both on the front and geographically removed from the fighting. I was instantly endeared to Zero’s character, his anxiety and his humour, and found him to be the perfect character to carry and represent the experiences of the people he encountered throughout his journeys.

It can be difficult to experience, synthesize, and reconstruct such experiences in comics form in a timely manner – so I was blown away with how current and on point this book remains for today’s issues. I appreciated the shifting maps, perspectives and public reporting throughout but was most drawn to those comparisons of comfortable western life and ignorance in stark juxtaposition to the reality being lived not so far away. I was particularly drawn to the analogy of the embassy as a Stargate as it really drove home the contrast of certain lived realities.

My biggest drawbacks were entirely aesthetic and stylistic, in that I was often lost by the mixture of anthropomorphic and human characters. Don’t get me wrong, I both understand and enjoy the metaphor of the mother hen and such, but I am a fan of consistency. I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if the characters were entirely animals like Maus, or entirely human. I think too, that there would have been even more of an emotional impact if the characters translated into animals had remained human and relatable rather than being removed through abstraction.

I did however, really enjoy the frequent asides from the narrator. Not only did they break tension in some incredibly dark moments, but they afforded a massive amount of information to readers who might not be familiar with the facts of the situation. The inclusion of maps, historical facts, and even personal perspectives from characters on the ground created well rounded and incredibly grounded experience.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! I am all for diversity in perspectives, and a huge advocate of questioning everything (especially the news) so Kobane Calling is just the type of thing I like to seek out. It offers alternate perspectives, and re-injects the human impacts that stripped down and factual reporting seeks to leave out. Zero’s work is an absolute must read, and is certain to be the kind of reportage that will be looked back on in the future as an informed alternative to (emphasis on the capital ‘H’) History.


Many thanks to Lion Forge and Netgalley for providing an eGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

#Review: The Divine Heart by Danielle R. Mani #YAFiction

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing Danielle R. Mani’s latest YA novel The Divine Heart. Short and sweet with enough twists to keep the pages turning, this was the perfect pallet cleanser after some emotionally heavy reads.


divineTitle: The Divine Heart

Author: Danielle R. Mani

Publisher: Crooked Cat Books

Publication Date: July 21, 2017

Genre: Fiction, YA Fiction, Paranormal Fantasy

Themes: Self Discovery, Romance, Family, Psychic Mediums, Supernatural

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4/ 5


Synopsis

From Goodreads…

Seventeen-year-old Elle Collins spent most her life waiting for someone else to die…

When a heart donor is found, Elle awakes from surgery gifted with more than just a new heart—clairaudient messages and spiritual apparitions haunt her until she is convinced that she must be insane. Either that, or her donor is sending a message.

Desperate for answers the medical community can’t provide, Elle’s divination leads her to the family of her donor—a young girl named, Cas. With the help of her best friend, Rob—the guy who’s a testament that her new heart is capable of love, Elle must make sense of the clues Cas is sending. As pieces of Cas’s life and death emerge, Elle will discover that she and Cas share more than just a heart.


My Review

One of the things that I loved so much about this book was that it’s short. There are so many YA books out there that are simply behemoth, and it’s nice to come across something every now and then that manages to fit family drama, some teen romance, well developed characters, and even a supernatural mystery in less than 200 hundred pages. Now throw in the fact that the main character is a strong female and that if this book were made into a movie that it would totally pass the Bechdel Test and I’m completely sold! There’s so much packed in there that it’s difficult to go too in depth for a review without spoilers, but I’m going to give it a try.

I really loved Elle and her journey of self discovery, especially since the book starts out with her in an incredibly weak and vulnerable position. It was interesting to consider the perspective of growing up your entire life with the knowledge that you might die young, which I found appropriately uncomfortable, but in this case not nearly as tragic as something like The Fault in our Stars. However, I would have liked to know more about her specific heart condition and her recovery process, but appreciate forfeiting these details in favour introspection and a little bit of sleuthing.

And, to be completely honest, I ended up really enjoying how Elle’s infatuation with Scott was written – not only was I thrown back to my own fickle youth, but it is chalk full of teachable moments. Granted, there were a few things that made me think ‘Elle, are you making good choices?’, like driving when she might be having a heart attack and sneaking around post surgery without letting an emergency contact where she was going, but I’m willing to accept that a headstrong character is necessary for an interesting plot.

I also loved how supportive and non-judgemental Rob was, especially when faced with the revelation that Elle was experiencing paranormal occurrences after her surgery. The belief and enthusiasm expressed by Rob was both age appropriate and entirely believable, and I definitely become more interested in discovering who Cas was once Rob was on board. It was fun to have just enough of his back story to let the imagination run wild, and I found myself as desirous of details as Elle’s gossipy class mates.

Ultimately, this is a fun, engaging, and heartwarming read. Despite it’s short length and lighter feel, The Divine Heart demands attention to detail from it’s audience. I would absolutely recommend it to YA and adult readers alike as it has a little bit of something for everyone. This is an ideal book for school libraries looking to add to their YA collections as it carries a heavy punch without the hefty page count, and is sure to entice some of those more reluctant readers.


Many thanks to Danielle R. Mani and Crooked Cat Books for sending a copy (and swag!) in exchange for an honest review. 

#BlogTour #GuestPost #Review: The Future Can’t Wait by Angelena Boden

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Today I am delighted to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for Angelena Boden’s The Future Can’t Wait. This tragically gripping emotional roller coaster ride will have you cursing, grieving, and grasping at straws but it’s themes are so timely and hard hitting that it’s an absolute must read. In addition to my regular review, today I also have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by the lovely Angelena Boden focusing on location and context – which is particularly fitting as being a Canadian blogger I only know of Birmingham what is presented through skewed, filtered, and highly biased news.


futureTitle: The Future Can’t Wait

Author: Angelena Boden

Publisher: Urbane Publications

Publication Date: November 2, 2017

Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Themes: Families, Racism, Grief, Social Dynamics


Synopsis

The Future Can’t Wait is a contemporary novel set in multicultural Birmingham against a background of growing radicalisation of young people sympathetic to Islamic State.   Kendra Blackmore’s half Iranian daughter Ariana (Rani) undergoes an identity crisis which results in her cutting off all contact with her family. Sick with worry and desperate to understand why her home loving daughter would do this, Kendra becomes increasingly desperate for answers – and to bring her estranged daughter home….


Guest Post 

SETTING FOR MY NOVEL – BIRMINGHAM? WHY NOT BALI?

GP8- Bham-Canal

Going back to my teens, I remember hiding under my bedcovers to gorge on Mills and Boon romances. Oh the mystical settings of Paris and Rome and the exotic islands of Mauritius and Madagascar would fill my head with travels to come. The future was bright. The future was…. Not BIRMINGHAM!

This is the second novel I have set against the background of England’s second largest city mainly because I lived in Bournville, chocolate-land, for almost thirty years and am in tune with the city’s pulse. In addition I am a passionate defender of a city I feel is misunderstood. Rather than give you a history lesson, here are a few quirky facts about a city I once called home.

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  • Birmingham means home (ham) of the people (ing) of the tribal leader, Beorma.
  • It has more miles of canals than Venice. Birmingham 35, Venice 26. So you know where to have your next holiday.
  • Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, spent his childhood in the tiny village of Sarehole, South Birmingham. The Shire, home of Bilbo in the Hobbit is said to have been modelled on this place.
  • James Watt, (who gave his name to our measurement of light output) lived in Birmingham 1775-1819 and developed the steam engine. He and Matthew Boulton, engineer, manufacturer and Watt’s business partner, “sold” the industrial revolution to the world. Watt also invented the letter copying machine, forerunner of the photocopier.
  • John Baskerville gave his name to a typeface in the 1750s. He started out as a teacher of calligraphy but his greatest ambition was to print books of the utmost quality.
  • Tony Hancock, Jasper Carrot and Benjamin Zephaniah all hail from Brum (among others).
  • Birmingham is home to many past and present rock bands including Ocean Colour Scene, Duran Duran, ELO, UB40 and Black Sabbath.
  • Be green with envy when you know that the city has more parks than any other European city, six million trees and a dozen or more gold medals from Britain in Bloom and the Chelsea Flower Show.
  • Birmingham was known as the city of a 1,000 trades and of course everybody knows the story of Cadbury and the Longbridge car plant which produced the Mini.
  • I can’t end this hot list without mentioning some other famous writers connected to Birmingham. From the same part of the city as me came The Reverend Wilbert Vere Awdry, creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, curate in Kings Norton. Lee Child grew up in Brum and Arthur Conan Doyle spent several months a year in Aston from 1879-1882.

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Several scenes in The Future Can’t Wait are set in The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, seven miles north of Birmingham, locally known as Sutton. It’s a wealthy part of the city and was historically part of Warwickshire until 1974 when it got absorbed into the West Midlands. Like the rest of Birmingham it has a long and interesting history and continually attracts people who are looking to move into a more rural area without losing the amenities of a large city.

An old-fashioned romance in the book develops in Sutton Park, a 2,400 Natural Nature reserve boasting woodland, seven lakes, wetland and marches bursting with a rich variety of wildlife. Cattle and ponies graze on the land and the park attracts model plane enthusiasts, cyclists, walkers and families. No doubt many a romantic tryst is carried out in the woodlands.

I chose this part of the city for the book because it presents a stereotype to the world of predominantly white, middle-class, well to do Britain. Take a walk through neighbouring Four Oaks to see what I mean. We live in a time when assumptions are made about all sorts of people and in my own humble way, I wanted to show that we can be very much mistaken.

I lived in a smart (read white) part of multi-cultural Birmingham with an Iranian husband and two olive skinned children. Any comments directed towards us were couched in patronising tones at dinner parties. Here’s one example from 1989. “Your daughter speaks very good English.”  There’s no answer to that is there?


My Review

This was, in all honesty, one of the hardest books I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year. It was not hard because of the writing style or length, but because it was so raw and gritty that I had to take breaks in order to digest everything that was going on. 

Kendra was such a vulnerable and fragile lead, and she showcased perfectly how anyone can be blindsided by loss and grief. I enjoyed the irony of her professional background and subject matter in class in relation to her own personal traumas, and marvelled at her willingness to engage with psychics despite her better judgement. I constantly found myself thinking that for a psychologist Kendra wasn’t exactly the best with people, but that doesn’t alway mean we’re capable of practicing what we preach! I really enjoyed that the story was told from her point of view however,  and I appreciated the depths of her emotions. Kendra’s grief process felt all to real, and I certainly don’t think she would have made it trough without that one good friend (and a good cuppa tea) to keep her on track.

I don’t think that I could have been more angry with Ariana for her decisions, regardless of whether or not she felt smothered or felt like David had interfered in her life. And I say this from that standpoint of someone who actually and legitimately moved to the other side of the world as soon as I was legally able in order to gain some space and figure out who the heck I was. But at the same time, my parents always knew that I was safe, how to get in touch with me (phone, email, address or itinerary), and that my choice wasn’t one made to spite them. That ending though! I would have screamed… and maybe slapped someone. But I do suppose that it truly embodies the selfishness that has come to epitomize an entire generation. Regardless, I was delighted by the fact that Kendra finally had something to look forward to in becoming a grandmother, and that she had finally moved through her grief process into seeing a future that was a little brighter.

My only complaint is that we never got to hear David’s decision from his time in Pembrokeshire. This is one loose end that I really would have liked to have seen wrapped up. But, at the same time, sometimes we don’t have the chance to say all the things we want to before life gets in the way. I really loved David’s character though, as he made this novel diverse on more than just one level. His quirk, routines, and what I read as innocence served to break the tension that otherwise would have made this read overwhelming.

As for location, I think that the choice of Birmingham was absolutely perfect. Having lived in the UK twice now, I have heard a great deal about the stigma and tensions surrounding the city. Even though Kendra’s family is removed slightly in their wealthy suburb, the impact of fear mongering and radicalized racial tensions truly are inescapable. And with the contemporary detail of the Brexit referendum and I can only imagine what the tension on the pages would have read as for someone who actually experience the run up to that vote. It’s those little, grounding details that really hit home for me and made me feel as though I was right there as well.

Would I recommend this book? In a heartbeat! It is the kind of poignant, relevant contemporary literature that we need to engage with. The Future Can’t Wait is beautifully written and encapsulates all off the ups and downs of the grieving process in the most realistic way. Powerful and heavy-hitting, you don’t need to know a thing about Birmingham to appreciate the context as this is the type of tale that is truly universal.


Author Information 

Angelena-BodenAngelena Boden (M.Soc.Sc PGDE) has spent thirty five years as an international training consultant, specialising in interpersonal skills and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching.

Since retiring from training, she runs a coaching practice in Malvern for people who are going through transition periods in their life; divorce, empty nesting, redundancy or coping with difficult situations at work, home and within the wider family.

Angelena has two half Iranian daughters and has extensive experience of helping mixed nationality couples navigate problems in their marriages.

She is the author of The Cruelty of Lambs, a novel about psychological domestic abuse. Her new book, The Future Can’t Wait tackles the breakdown of a mother and daughter relationship within a cross cultural context. It is published by Urbane Publications and is out in November 2017.

Author Links:

Web: http://www.angelenaboden.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelenaBoden @AngelenaBoden

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bodenangelena/


Many thanks to Angelena Boden and Urbane Publications for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review, and to Abby Fairbrother-Slater @annebonnybooks for arranging this fabulous blog tour.

#ARC #Review: Strangers by David A. Robertson #YAFiction

I love good YA. Plain and simple. And not only is Strangers an absolutely gripping read, it represents Indigenous perspectives that make my librarian heart go pitter-patter. The expert blend of intrigue, mythology, and fantasy created a seamless and exciting reading experience – my only complaint is that I am going to have to wait so long for the next two books of the trilogy!


StrangersTitle: Strangers

Author: David A. Robertson

Publisher: Portage & Main Press; HighWater Press

Expected Publication Date: March 15, 2018

Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction, YA Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy

Themes: Self Discovery, Romance, Murder Mystery, Community, Family, Grief

Features: N/A


My Rating: 4/ 5


Synopsis

From Goodreads…

When Cole Harper is compelled to return to Wounded Sky First Nation, he finds his community in chaos: a series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and reemerging questions about Cole’s role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago. With the aid of an unhelpful spirit, a disfigured ghost, and his two oldest friends, Cole tries to figure out his purpose, and unravel the mysteries he left behind a decade ago. Will he find the answers in time to save his community?

Strangers is the first novel in The Reckoner series by David Alexander Robertson, award–winning writer, and author of HighWater Press’ acclaimed children’s book When We Were Alone.


My Review

Where do I begin with this book? It is absolutely amazing! And although it is strongly rooted in the Cree culture, it is the type of book that can be enjoyed by adventure loving teens and adults regardless of their knowledge of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The murders, the mysteries, and Cole’s personal development are enough to keep the pages turning.

As a main character, I really enjoyed Cole. I like that he isn’t perfect, that he gets moody, and that we get to see those moments of vulnerability when he doubts himself or feels that judgement of his peers or community. I couldn’t help but chuckle at how head strong he could be, in the way that teens can, but also how he knows when to walk away from heated situations. It is refreshing to see heroes forgo fights that don’t need to happen, and I think that it is a message that should be modelled more often, especially for young men. His journey is both deeply personal as he comes to grips with his anxiety and murder of his friends, and communal as Wounded Sky finally starts to process the tragedy at the school.

And Jayne, how can you not love little Jayne? Who shines a little brighter when she is lit from within by Joy, dances when she knows no one is watching, and is always game to play games and perform ‘magic’ tricks. She reminds us of the innocence of youth and the adaptability of children. I love too, how she was metaphorically split, embodying the dichotomy of how she was in life as opposed to how the community remembers her death. Her hope and happiness serves as the perfect balance to Cole’s seriousness and self-doubt, while Choch gets to take on the role of comic relief in a book that would other wise read as a melodrama.

I can’t tell you how much I loved Choch – his constant interruptions, the way in which he guides both Cole and the reader throughout the story, his quirks and terrible fashion taste, and (most infuriatingly) the way in which his interruptions overshadow key conversations that are sure to play a role later in the trilogy. But more than anything, I loved the reactions that Cole and Ashley have when encountering a talking Coyote, and the fact that the awkwardness of these encounters never really goes away. Although Choch can come off as a nuisance and a trickster, it is clear that he truly is there to help even if the people that he is helping doesn’t know it yet.

Robertson’s role as educator on, and member of, the Cree Nation really shines through in his writing. It is refreshing to encounter a work devoid of stereotypes and stigma, and where the religious and cultural practices portrayed throughout are treated with a beauty and respect only someone who truly values them can. We need more books like this. Period. Teachers and librarians take note, you need to add this book to your collections (and it would make a waaaay more interesting novel study than Lord of The Flies).

I did struggle a little, with the long-held hatred that many of the adult characters had towards Cole. While I know that small communities can hold on to things forever this was the only part of the book that seemed a little over done. But, then I sat back and reminded myself that I was reading a work of YA fantasy, and who makes the best antagonist in a teen coming of age story? An adult! No, wait… and entire town of grow-ass adults! So, it’s literally teen against the world. This is something that some older readers might pick up on, but if you go into this book with the intended audience in mind, it shouldn’t be too difficult to overcome.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely yes! I have already recommended it to all of my middle and high school colleagues for purchase after it’s release in the new year. Not only do library collections need new, engaging, diverse YA literature, but we also need works that represent Indigenous peoples from Indigenous perspectives. Strangers does this beautifully AND it has the kind of action that will attract readers without them really knowing they’re engaging with diverse lit. This baby is a must read, and I am so angry that I have sit quietly and wait for the remaining to books in the series to be written.


Many thanks to David A. Robertson, HighWater Press, and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.