by Darcie Little Badger
This is a very fine young adult debut; I am only beginning to read books in this field, but this certainly ranks as one of the best – perhaps the best – I’ve read so far. What makes this book distinct is the solidity of the family core, the use of first-nations themes and stories, and the lack of emphasis on romance; the main character declares herself to be asexual, and the book makes that both important (in terms of breaking new ground with the use of the term) and unimportant (in that everyone in the book accepts her as she is). It was refreshing to read a character who was not looking for a partner in that sense. The relationships in the book are strong, nevertheless. There is a lot of magic, as has been the case with most of the books I’ve read in this genre, but the magic has freshness here, borrowing from the characters roots as an Apache. There were the inevitable vampires, but one of them provided a really unique moment in the book, in which the vampire attacks, and the Apache mother declares it to be unwelcome in her home, which in her case includes most of Texas. The vampire, unable to escape the ensuing curse, simply dissolves. Darcie Little Badger is an important voice, and leaves the door open to more novels.