Stars: 4.5 out of 5
I’ll say it right now: I’m a sucker for Native American (or as our main character here, Sal, prefers, Indian) novels. This one, thankfully, didn’t hit you over the head with it. It wasn’t about a Native American, first and foremost, who was a girl only incidentally. It was about a girl, first and foremost (and her family and her friend Phoebe), who was Native American almost incidentally, which was refreshing. I did think the characters acted a little young for their age; I kept imagining my own 5th grade classroom, even though the girls were 13. But in general, I loved the way that Salamanca wove the story of her mother’s abandonment into the story of Phoebe’s mother’s mysterious disappearance. Sal tells the story to her grandparents as they make their way across the country from Kentucky to Idaho, following her mother’s path right up until her death. Sal’s grandparents relate to her, and she to them, in a way that I didn’t entirely believe, inserting all kinds of details about her first kiss as they pertained to the story of Phoebe and her mother, things I never would have told my own grandparents. But in general, the chapters moved quickly and ended on cliff-hangers, leaving me up reading until all hours of the night!
PS – I am having trouble deciding if this book would be considered YA or J-fic. I could see a 4th or 5th grader getting a lot out of it, so I’m going to tag it as both. Anyone agree or disagree?