Tag Archive | nature

T for Traitor’s Son, by Hilari Bell (fiction) – ecology, mythology, and rescue

His father turned away from his heritage.
His grandfather turned away from his son.
He’s a city kid who avoids the wilderness even more than his dad shuns his Native Alaskan roots, and it’s up to him to turn back ecological disaster.

This parable about a possible future world mixes bioengineered plant plagues with Native American/First Peoples/Native Alaskan mythology and symbols as a reluctant hero must decide whether to get involved in the struggle to rebalance the earth’s ecology using a medicine pouch and ley line nodes and other stuff that freaks him out, like that raven.

The Raven Duet begun in Trickster’s Girl  brings fresh awareness of humankind’s effects on our ecosystems as we read this second book to see if the Traitor’s Son will really come through. We’d better make every day Earth Day.

Book info: Traitor’s Son (The Raven Duet, book 2) / Hilari Bell. Houghton Mifflin, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: The leather pouch that she tosses to him must be contraband, drugs, something illegal. Jason can’t imagine any other reason that the teen would risk being shot – with real bullets – to get it over the Alaskan border. He certainly couldn’t imagine that it was the only hope for healing the Earth.

He’s only at the border station to pick up his father’s client and drive him back to Anchorage in the vintage electric sportscar he loves so well. Lots of well-earned perks for a Native Alaskan lawyer who was willing to leave his village and defend a lawsuit that made anyone less than one-fourth Native blood – like his own son Jason – ineligible to inherit Native properties and made his people call him a traitor.

Maybe it’s time to visit his grandparents again, Jason thinks, especially after he dreams of an old Native woman who warns him of a young man coming to steal the leather pouch. Then the new Native girl at his school starts him thinking about heritage and ecological disaster and even nature (strange for a city boy like him).

Odd, disturbing things happen when Jase visits his grandparents’ Native village, each one proving that the girl Raven is right about the earth’s ecology falling further out of balance. When she transforms herself into a real raven, Jase begins to believe she might really know what the medicine pouch can do to heal the earth.

How much is this city boy willing to risk to see if she’s right? Being only three-sixteenths Native Alaskan, can he truly step into the spirit world to fight? Traitor’s Son completes the story begun in Trickster’s Girl in this high-tech, high-security future United States whose only hope is the magic recounted in ancient folklore. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots, by Abby McDonald (book review) – city girl in Canadian mountain town

book cover of Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonaldFor Fun Friday, we’re heading north of the border. I can see why Jenna would rather spend her summer with the godmother she hasn’t seen in years, instead of sweltering in a Florida retirement community with her grandma – it’s been ridiculously hot in C.Florida this summer already and there’s only so much bingo that a teen wants to deal with…

But how could she be prepared for a small community in the Canadian forest, where hunting and fishing are essential parts of life, a one-horse town where everyone has known everyone forever?

Oh, I did laugh out loud when Jenna, the kayak, and the beaver lodge had a sudden meeting, but Jenna’s summer looks like an uphill climb, doesn’t it? And what about the bear, and the moose, and the mountain biking? Well, you’ll just have to read this funny book to find out, eh?

Book info: Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots / Abby McDonald. Candlewick, 2010. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Jenna is a Green Teen for environmental awareness at her high school, so when she can choose between spending the summer in the Canadian woods with her godmother Susie or snoozing through card games at her grandmother’s Florida retirement village, she jumps at the chance to head north.

But the teens of tiny Stillwater, British Columbia, have known each other forever and don’t exactly welcome Jenna. Ethan, Grady, and Reeve play practical jokes on her from the moment they meet. Fiona hates everything, especially her stepmother, Susie, who works frantically with her new husband to transform a huge old house into a bed-and-breakfast resort before the first guests arrive in a few weeks. And Jenna’s best friend doesn’t get much cellphone signal at her summer camp job back home… what else could go wrong?

How about crashing through a beaver dam with her kayak or accidentally catching a trout? “I left the cork on the hook! I didn’t think anything would actually bite!” screams vegetarian Jenna.

The five teens start to get along as they create a website (complete with videos of Jenna’s rookie attempts at rock climbing and dirt bikes) so the inn can compete with the new luxury spa hotel across the valley, but secrets and misunderstood kisses may end the whole summer with a crash!

Does everything have to be eco-friendly or else? What makes a true friend? Why do guys have to be so complicated? (and watch out for the bear, Jenna, and the moose, too!)(One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Trickster’s Girl, by Hilari Bell (book review) – nanotech, ley lines, unbalanced Earth

book cover of Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell published by Houghton Mifflin

Ley lines and legendary figures from Native American/First Peoples mythology.
Bioplague and a Gaia/Earth that can no longer heal itself.
Our potential future, Kelsa’s world, so much at stake.

Read this first book in the Raven Duet outside, under a real, living tree.

Book info: Trickster’s Girl / Hilari Bell. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011. 268 pg [author’s site] [publisher site]

My Recommendation: As Kelsa is burying Dad’s ashes in the scrap of forest left near the city, a young man with no ID chip approaches her, wondering why she doesn’t believe in magic. Ha! Her father just died of cancer, that curable everyday problem, worrying about the bioplague dropped by terrorists in the Amazon rainforest, the antidote that didn’t work, the deforestation of whole countries that followed. Magic in a world of aircars and compods and microchefs?

This isn’t hocus-pocus magic, Kelsa finds out, as Raven transforms himself into a fish, a bird, right before her eyes. He describes how humankind’s demands have blocked the ley lines of spirit, keeping the earth from healing itself. Now forests can’t fight off the bioplague and humans can’t fight off curable cancers and worse natural disasters loom ahead.

Kelsa has a flicker of magic in her soul, and Raven needs her help to unblock key nexus points on the ley lines from Utah to Alaska with a Native American artifact. But first they have to rob a museum to get it, then slip away from the police without worrying her mother.

Surviving in the wilderness as her dad taught her, escaping from agents of spirits who’d rather erase humanity and start earth anew, riding bikes and motorcycles over mountain trails toward nexus points, crossing boundaries without passports…
Can Kelsa really help the earth heal itself?
Is Raven the Trickster telling her the whole truth?

This is the first book of Bell’s new series based in a high-tech, high-security future United States whose only hope is the magic recounted in ancient folklore. (one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandhug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.