Natalie was adopted by a nice white family when she was just days old. For years she’s been communicating with an otherworldly being who would appear in her bedroom at night called Grandmother. Grandmother tells her stories the Natalie rarely understands. But three years ago Grandmother stopped coming and Natalie has felt lost ever since. The week of graduation, Natalie starts seeing things that she shouldn’t. One minute she’s in the hallway at school, but the next she’s seeing rolling hills and grazing buffalo. What’s happening to her and who is the boy that she sometimes sees during her episodes?
This book was kind of interesting…I thought the premise was very unique and I was excited to see where the book would go. Right away I rejoiced that our main character was half Native American. Hooray for diversity in YA! I also really liked that actual Native American legends were woven into this story. In the back of the book I think there was an author’s note listing each of the stories told and what tribes they’re attributed too. I don’t know very much about Native American culture, so I was happy to get a glimpse into some of their stories and the way they might think about things.
The beginning of the book was very slow for me. I had a hard time really getting into it. And then as the story progresses, it doesn’t feel like the pace ever really picks up. We’re in Natalie’s head a lot so even though there’s a time constraint and Natalie is technically “battling against the clock”, the story still progresses at this really unhurried pace. There’s insta-love involved which I usually hate, but it wasn’t the worst in this book. Of all of the insta-love stories that I’ve read, I feel like this one was on the more realistic end of things. Beau seemed like a fairly interesting character (even if we’re not really clear on any of his motivations) but I kept imagining him as being Native American also…which, I don’t think he actually was.
Honestly, I kind of feel like a lot of this book went over my head. Like I said earlier, we’re in Natalie’s head A LOT and there’s quite a bit of internal struggle going on in there. In the end, I’m not really sure if she really did develop as a character. What did she learn about herself? I feel like she definitely learned something, but I’m not picking up on what it was. Then there was the resolution of the plot. It’s like…I kind of get it, but the last couple of chapters seemed super info-dumpy and I don’t think I got all of it. And then there was the ending…which was just okay for me. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either.
I feel like this book is really different from a lot of books that are popular right now. It definitely has a darker overall tone to it. The alternate realities/time travel element was interesting even if it wasn’t necessarily explained that well. There are some religious elements to the story as well that I thought were interestingly tied in. Overall, I don’t think most readers will necessarily hate this book, but I also don’t think you’ll regret passing on it.
Overall Rating: 3
Language: Moderate. Some brief, strong language.
Violence: Moderate. Some mention of domestic abuse.
Smoking/Drinking: Heavy. A lot of underage drinking.
Sexual Content: Moderate