Release Date: January 6, 2015
Keywords: survival, native american, mystery
Format Read: ARC via publisher (thank you!)
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This is my first Nick Lake book, and it definitely won't be my last.
There are two components to this book: the here and now, and the dreaming state. The present story revolves around Shelby, a young teen who is deaf and has only known life in Arizona with her mother. They have a strict routine, and her mother is very tight about the rules. After Shelby is put in the hospital, her mother, with no explanation, checks her out early and heads out of town with her. And by out of town, they mean seriously out of town. Her mom's booking it somewhere and trying to cover her tracks, and Shelby doesn't know why.
Part two of this book is an intermittent state of dreaming, which mostly happens while Shelby is asleep. The cute guy she knew from the library, Mark, is talking to her in this alter world and he tells her it's up to her to save the child.
This book wins automatically in its uniqueness and by being so incredibly different than anything I've read before. It's hard to find books that seem genuinely, authentically their own, and they're not reminiscent of anything else. This was one of those books. It's got a supremely cool main character, and she doesn't speak much since she's deaf. So we get a lot of internal dialogue and it's all told a bit differently from her perspective since she doesn't always know what people are saying, despite her ability to lip read. It's also set in the desert out west and has a lot of ties with Native American folklore and culture, which is really cool. It's not something I ever read a lot about or studied, but it's an interesting component that made this book stand out.
I was 110% into the mystery behind the present story. The suspense was excellent, and the story moved at a quick pace, so it was easy to get into what was happening. Along the way, a lot of secrets were revealed about why they were on the run and what exactly would happen in Shelby's near future, and I was swept up by the storytelling of it all.
It was the Dreaming where I felt the story got stuck. It was interesting, but I could never figure out if it was a thing that was happening or if it was a thing in Shelby's head, or what really was the purpose of it all. I mean, I got it by the end, but to me, it seemed like an extraneous piece of the story that really didn't need to be there. It didn't mess up the story too much or anything, and I still enjoyed the book, but it always took me out of the suspense and questioning mode from the car trip, and I'd have to get back into it a few chapters later.
This book would be perfect for a long weekend coming up (MLK Jr Day?) because I know you'll want to read it in a couple days. It's too good to spread it out, and despite the crazy page count, it's one you will fly through.