Darcie Little Badger
Narrator: Kinsale Hueston
Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.
There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.
Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
Publisher: Levine Querido
Published: August 25th 2020
Grief, Death, Murder, Mention of Animal Death
“Don’t rush stories. That’s sacrilegious.”
This book was a genuine joy to experience, in a way that is still sticking with me months after listening to it. It’s been a while since I had enjoyed a story in such a way in which it wasn’t something to analyze, but something I could just be immersed in. And that’s lovely.
The audiobook was a cute nine-ish hours and I knocked it out in a day or two. The narrator did a fine job in my eyes. I didn’t have any particular strong feelings, though I did feel that she embodied the main character as well as the tone of the story.
The mystery genre and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship, yet I enjoyed being less worried with the who of said mystery and more of the why and how. I was never trying to think ahead of the whodunnit and just went with it.
To her, Six-Great was immortal; the stories made her that way. They carried her personality through the generations.
But also, I think what had helped with my engagement is the importance of storytelling. Throughout the book, Elatsoe is being guided on her journey through the stories that have been passed down to her from generations and it just felt like I was being lulled into it. I appreciated the importance of knowing where you come from and using the knowledge of your elders as life lessons and helpful markers in your own life.
Speaking of Elatsoe, I enjoyed her as a main character. She was smart and someone who was a genuine delight being in the head of. Now, she did give me the vibe of a middle grade age range and if I’m honest, going into this book I was expecting this to be in that age range. However, I’m happy it wasn’t because we got the one thing I’m always looking for in books: a-spec representation. I adore how not only is there on-page usage of the word, the people around her respected and took into account her asexuality when talking to her. It was casual and I am so here for it.
Which made the friendship between her and Jay such a joy to read because… JAY AND ELLIE ARE BROTP GOALS. We love a supportive unit. We love ride-or-die friendships. We love platonic love between the opposite sex. Also, present parents! The fact that they were there for and with her throughout it all? The father/daughter excellence?? The amount of joy radiating from my bones.
Now, this book deals heavily with grief– the best way I can word it is it’s not a heavy blanket, but more a light misting— ever constant. Yet, I appreciate the self acknowledgment of going too far and letting things rest. Listen, I really enjoyed this one and I’m definitely on the look out for more of their works.