AUTHOR: Darcie Little Badger
PUBLICATION DATE: August 25th, 2020
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery, Magic Realism, LGBTQ+
TRIGGER WARNINGS: death of a loved one, animal death, racism
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.
This book was GORGEOUS. Not only was Elatsoe such a wonderfully strong character, she’s unapologetically asexual. There’s not nearly enough ace representation, so when a good character comes along I want to tell everyone.
Elatsoe is a genrebending book. I don’t think I could say exactly what genre it is, though I guess the closest would be magic realism. Or maybe fantasy set in our world? A ghost story? Murder mystery? Either way it does such a great job blending reality and fantastical fiction together.
I LOVED the parental support in the story. I also really loved that Ellie told her parents what she was doing every step of the way instead of hiding it and lying. Her parents supported her wonderfully too. They took her seriously, which is uncommon in YA.
Ellie in’t the only great character in this book. I LOVE how effortlessly supportive her best friend, Jay, is. He is a descendant of the fey Puck and can manipulate light. I also REALLY loved his sister and her bridal party. (Bridesmaids who gear up like renegades to help out Ellie. LOVE IT)
Overall, I just really really loved this book. I really hope Little Badger writes more books. I’ll be the first in line to buy them.