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From Susan: I recently read “Gives Light” & “Looks Over” (books 1 & 2 of the series) based on glowing reviews by Ilhem & Tracy and ‘Best of 2013’ votes from our readers. I was mesmerized. I wanted so much for EVERYONE to read these books! But, our review team is VERY divided when it comes to Young Adult. So, I did the only thing I could think to do – I threw down a CHALLENGE. And the group (with Ilhem, Tracy, and I looking on), took on the reading of “Gives Light”…some grumbling, some distracted, some uncertain, some totally-game. Here’s what happened…(and yes, there may be some gloating from where I’m sitting…)
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“Skylar is my name, tragically.”
Sixteen-year-old Skylar is witty, empathetic, sensitive–and mute. Skylar hasn’t uttered a single word since his mother died eleven years ago, a senseless tragedy he’s grateful he doesn’t have to talk about.
When Skylar’s father mysteriously vanishes one summer afternoon, Skylar is placed in the temporary custody of his only remaining relative, an estranged grandmother living on an Indian reservation in the middle of arid Arizona.
Adapting to a brand new culture is the least of Skylar’s qualms. Because Skylar’s mother did not die a peaceful death. Skylar’s mother was murdered eleven years ago on the Nettlebush Reserve. And her murderer left behind a son.
And he is like nothing Skylar has ever known.
I think it should be shared, before our reviews of the book, that we are a very diverse team when it comes to our reading tastes. So, in giving you a better perspective of where we’re starting from with this book, here’s where we each land on the YA Scale:
Ami: I have been wanting to read Gives Light for quite awhile because it was recommended by several people already. However, I admit that sometimes I feel this reservation to read something that comes highly recommended, blame my brain for being cynical.
Sue: Downright, grumpy. I was certain that I’d be frustrated (once again) by everything I had previously experienced when reading YA.
Jenni: I’ve wanted to read something by Rose Christo for a while, this book in particular because of the ratings, and I also like YA, so I was pretty excited.
Katinka: I was dragged into it by my hair, while bitching and whining.
Shelley: Reading about the Native American culture was the only thing I was looking forward to; cos I know I was a warrior squaw in a past life. But my sincere reluctance lies with the fact that this is YA. YA (to me) = boring, sexless adolescent draaahma. Bleh …
Sara: I was looking forward to learning about the boys, how Skylar became mute and about life on the reservation. I was hesitant that it would either be: too much information and be brow beaten with it or it would all go over my head and I would miss the big picture/point to it all.
Sheri: Since my own grandfather was Native American and I’ve always held my heritage close to my heart, I was very much looking forward to the setting. I enjoy YA to boot, so there wasn’t a thing I was hesitant about.
Group: Skylar’s voice. Vivid imagery. The characters. The writing was just gorgeous. The view into the beautiful Native American culture and history. The soothing effect. Being immersed in beautifully tender feels of first love. The story that unfolds is touching, unforgettable, and heart-warming.
Group: Their innocence at 16 and 17 felt ‘off’. Skylar and especially Rafael were WAY too celibate/chaste for 16 year old boys. The MCs should have been two years younger in my eyes to make their type of relationship more realistic. I wish there were scenes from Raphael’s POV.
Sara: I am ashamed to admit my biggest surprise was my lack of knowledge in regards to Native American/Indian history. I loved that on a Shoshone website I found that “The Heart’s Friend” is actually a Shosone love song. As if reading those words in the book wasn’t enough to melt me into a puddle, reading the words to the song left me breathless.
Katinka: I’m surprised (ashamed really) at how I went into this book and how I came out of it; as a born-again YA lover.
Sheri: Oh yeah. The reason for Skylar’s fathers disappearance was shocking and the connection between Sky and Raf’s past blew me away.
Jenni: The intensity, the reality and just the utter calm of the story were surprising to me, in the best possible ways.
Ami: I was surprised that a story with a mute character can ‘speak’ louder than when the words were being said.
Shelley: How quickly I fell in love with this book. I was lost to it by 20% and even knowing that there was NO sex or angst to come? I didn’t care. And that surprised the hell out of me!
#transcendental #silenceislouderthanwords #ThisIsHowYouWriteABook #cherish #quiet #soothingstory
Shelley: A quiet and humbling coming of age story that captures the beauty of nature, innocence, love and heritage.
Ami: There is something soothing when you read it, like a soft blanket, covering you, making you feel relaxed and safe.
Jenni: Twenty words simply aren’t enough, so I’ll go with just four: I loved this book.
Sara: A gorgeous and heartwarming story about, love, loss and forgiveness while finding your true self and where you belong.
Sue: This killed me softly. I know it’s Christo, but these kids and story… *sobs* … the words… *howls* … so much love.
Katinka: This heart-warming, slowly unfolding coming of age story, in which love eventually conquers all, made my cynical heart swell.
Sheri: Two young boys prove forgiveness, acceptance and love truly heal; and the path may be jagged, but it’ll lead home.
Title: Gives Light (Gives Light #1)
Author: Rose Christo
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Purchase Links: Smashwords