Allow me to introduce you to a YA / Teen Fantasy Adventure from Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. Please read on for my review of this award winning title, and first in the series. Please be sure to check the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.
I’m not a huge ‘thriller’ reader, but the buzz and the synopsis of this book were simply too clever to pass up. The writing partnership of Jeff and Erynn Altabef is a father/daughter duo, and I love the idea of two brains coming together to create cohesion.
In this story, the protagonist is 16 year old Juliet, and she is also our insight into the story, as the narration is in her voice. The use of first person is honest and enhances the flow of the story: we feel that a teen girl is relating the story and events, and we are privy to her thoughts and memories. I like fist person for that very reason, especially when done well: the tension and angst from the character is transmitted to the reader often before the “EEK” moment.
Juliet is the daughter of a Navajo man and a Caucasian woman: a bit of her own personal struggles with identity being so decidedly different from those around her only add to that sense of ‘who am I’ that everyone goes through in their teens. What is different here is the decided connection to both sides of her cultural identity: her best friends who couldn’t be more different, and the glimpses into the influences and legends of the Navajo.
Language and emotion in this story feels very honest: decisions that Juliet must make are not always based solely in logic, but often are a mix of what she knows and what she feels – giving each reader a stake in her decisions, since we all have different thoughts and experiences coming in. While some of the more outrageous appearances of her powers seem to be rather offhandedly accepted, it also seems to tie deeply back to the relationship with her Sicheii (grandfather) and his tales and teachings she has heard since she can remember. I enjoyed the interplay between Juliet and her classmates, friends and best friends: those all felt real and possible, a glimpse into her day and life.
And then, the mystery and action start to take over, and things move on a breakneck speed with mystery to solve and Juliet’s every experience comes into play as she makes decisions. She doesn’t want to be the “Chosen”, and she is conflicted about everything: change and growth are scary and unsettling, and the perfect time for doubts to creep in. The authors used that simple fact of human nature to enhance Juliet: she’s just 16, she shouldn’t have all the answers or always be certain that the decisions she makes are always right, and the moments of insecurity that she shows in second-guessing what she reveals, what path she is on, all help to make her more relatable. I loved that she was determined to see things through, even as she felt compelled to make the best choices possible, not just the quickest ones.
While there are some elements and interior monologue that is repetitive, and some of her decisions appear to come more quickly without real solid reasoning, I enjoyed those moments as it made her more human, more 16. Integration of some Native American elements, the spats at school and with friends, and the reluctant heroine stepping up to do what is necessary to fulfill her purpose made this a story that I believe will appeal to teens and YA readers alike. I know that my daughter would have stayed up too late on a school night reading this story – needing to know what comes next.
Title: Wind Catcher
Author: Jeff Altabef, Erynn Altabef
Genre: Young Adult
Published by: Evolved Publishing
Published on: 21 March, 2015
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This fantasy adventure series is steeped in American Indian culture and so much more.Winner: Mom's Choice Award -- Silver MetalWinner: Awesome Indies -- Seal of ApprovalRecipient: Readers' Favorite -- 5 Star ReviewJuliet Wildfire Stone hears voices and sees visions, but she can't make out what they mean. Her eccentric grandfather tells her stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but he might as well be speaking another language. None of it makes any sense.When she stumbles upon a series of murders, she can't help but worry her grandfather might be involved. To discover the truth, Juliet must choose between her new life at an elite private school and her Native American heritage. Once she uncovers an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep her safe, she starts to wonder whether there's some truth to those old stories her grandfather has been telling her.All she wants is to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but she has never been average-couldnever be average.Betrayed by those she loves, she must decide whether to run or risk everything by fulfilling her destiny as the Chosen.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.