Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A PYN Review of Spirit Seeker

A PYN Review of Jamie Haden's Spirit Seeker
SJ Byrne, PYN Reviewer

'Spirit Seeker' is a YA novel that delves into the paranormal side of the Native American culture. Talisa Santiago is a teenager of Native descent who's been denied the knowledge of her birthright by a mother insistent upon relocating every couple of years. When they move to the remote island of Silence, North Carolina Talisa begins to discover the truth of who she is, through the fast friendships she acquires, entering a world full of legends, ritualistic ceremony and shape shifters.

An unusual girl for her age, Talisa prefers converse sneakers and jeans, detests shopping and gossip, but becomes plagued with teenage angst as she enters into her first romantic relationship with Jag, the schools bad-boy. Suffering from the consequences of being deserted by her father, Talisa is repeatedly unable to trust the new boy in her life, thus creating a see-saw of romantic upheaval. Add in a mother who appears to be somewhat solid in her own flighty way, but turns into a heavy wine drinker as her own romance heats up, and you've got the typical dysfunctional family a lot of young readers can relate with.

'Spirit Seeker' pulled me in from the very start, urging me to read on and discover what was, in Talisa's words, "the most horrifying thing I had ever witnessed." Some of the passages were descriptive in a way that transports the reader into another realm; "The two male dancers began stomping their feet, waving their hands, and chanting foreign sounds only the spirits could understand."

Though the book is riddled with technical and grammatical errors the editor should have caught before sending it to publication, I was so enthralled by the storyline that I couldn’t put the book down; I had to know what the end result was going to be. It's a fun read that leaves the reader wanting more, with the promise of a sequel.

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