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GROUP CHALLENGE REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: “Gives Light” by Rose Christo

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…)


Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win ALL FOUR books in the Gives Light series!  Winner will be chosen and then announced on March 24th!

gives light


“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:


How were you feeling going into this challenge read?

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.

What were you looking forward to and what were you hesitant about reading this book?

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.

What did you like best about the book? 

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.

What did you dislike about the book?

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.

Did anything surprise you?

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!

What would your #hashtag be to describe this book? 

#transcendental #silenceislouderthanwords #ThisIsHowYouWriteABook #cherish #quiet #soothingstory

How would you review this book in 20 words or less?

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.


Ami: 4.5 STARS 
Ilhem: 4 STARS
Jenni: 5 STARS
Katinka:  5 STARS
Sara: 4.5 STARS
Shelley:   4.5 STARS
Sheri:  4.5 STARS
Sue:   5 STARS
Susan: 4.5 STARS
Tracy:  4 STARS


15810499Title:  Gives Light (Gives Light #1)
Author:  Rose Christo
Publisher:  Self-pub
Pages:  315
Release Date:  July 10, 2012
Purchase Links:  Smashwords

29 comments on “GROUP CHALLENGE REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: “Gives Light” by Rose Christo

  1. trishaharry
    March 17, 2014

    I already have the series, so you can leave me out of this. But I’m glad to see you all enjoyed the book! :D


    • Sue
      March 17, 2014

      Thanks Trisha! I think I’ll cherish this book for a long, long time. :)


      • trishaharry
        March 17, 2014

        Same here! I’ll cherish the series forever, I think. :D


    • gaycrow
      March 17, 2014

      I’m the same, Trisha. I have the books and love them. <3


  2. Sue
    March 17, 2014

    This was so much fun! Who was the smarty-pants who thought of #SilenceIsLouderThanWords? Very clever. :)


  3. Ami
    March 17, 2014

    This has been such a beautiful challenge!! I loved reading your answers for the Q & A, especially for the YA-grouch girls (yes, I’m looking at the three of you who rate 1-2 on YA scale *haha*)


  4. LegeArtis
    March 17, 2014

    Yay! Rose Christo deserves recognition!
    I, like Shelley, run away from YA as fast as I can, but I read Christo’s fantastic “The Place Where They Cried” which left me emotionally devastated, so I decided to give this a go. Beautiful, beautiful story…..
    Great challenge, ladies. :)


    • katinka
      March 18, 2014

      I’ve been eying “The Place Where They Cried”! The reviews sound so very promising, but also make me feel a little chicken. It sounds like a book that will leave a lasting impression, but will also turn you inside out and devastated.


      • LegeArtis
        March 19, 2014

        I know, I was reluctant as well… . Historical setting and the event that this book covers are stomach-cringing on their own… but then I read in LenaLena’s review that it’s one of the most romantic stories she ever read…so it tipped the scale for reading. And I am so glad I did. If you decide to give it a go, I’ll have shock blanket and tequila ready. ;)


        • katinka
          March 27, 2014

          I’ll just ponder about it a little while longer, but I can see myself going (well, crawling…slowly..) there eventually… I’ll hold you to your Tequila promise. ;D


  5. Susana
    March 17, 2014

    Gives Light was already in my TBR list, but after reading your review I am really looking forward to get to it Good job :)


  6. Mandy
    March 17, 2014

    Looks like it was a hit with all of you. I guess that mean it needs to be on my TBR pile.


  7. helenajust
    March 17, 2014

    I’m 2 to 3 on your scale, but would love to be proved wrong so this looks like a good book to do that!


  8. jenf27
    March 17, 2014

    I have read and loved this series. But I borrowed them, so it would be great to have my own copies. Thanks for bringing much deserved attention to these books!

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com


  9. Allison
    March 17, 2014

    I avoided YA for a long time but I’m increasingly impressed with some of the books that have been released lately.


  10. Susan
    March 17, 2014

    I don’t read lots of YA, but I do enjoy coming out stories and I love stories set in Native American culture. And it’s fun to participate in a giveaway with other people with variations of my name!


  11. Krel
    March 17, 2014

    I used to love YA, and maybe I still do. I think I just need a good reason to go back. Even to go back and finish some series I’d started. I’m really glad you all had such strong reactions. This makes me hopeful.


  12. julio
    March 17, 2014

    great review—and the YA scale is handy.


  13. Christina
    March 17, 2014

    I’m glad you all liked it so much. I can’t wait to start this series!


  14. H.B.
    March 17, 2014

    Wow so many great rating from all of you. Definitely worth a read. Thank you for a chance to win them.


  15. lamoiti
    March 17, 2014

    Thanks for the review. I have looked at this series but wasn’t sure about reading since it’s YA and it isn’t always my thing…..


  16. blackasphodel
    March 18, 2014

    I’m always intrigued by blind/deaf/mute characters and this has high ratings so count me in!


  17. Alaina
    March 18, 2014

    Thanks for all the information in the reviews! This series just recently caught my attention, and I also was not sure if I wanted to start it… I do now! Please enter me in the giveaway drawing! Thanks for the chance to win! Hoping for some luck!


  18. angelica
    March 18, 2014

    Great review! I’m not into YA (much), but this book sounds too good to pass up.


  19. Ashley E
    March 18, 2014

    I’ve never heard of this series before, but it sounds like it’s pretty amazing. I’m adding this to my wishlist either way.


  20. Tess
    March 18, 2014

    Oh, nice! Sounds like a mix of New moon and The Piano. I have not read any M/M YA so far, not including Captive Prince;-), and am a bit curious (even though I am usually more into, ahem, “adult” stuff). I wonder where I will end up on your scale….


  21. Lisa G
    March 18, 2014

    Wow – these books sound amazing. I had not heard of them and have since added them to my wishlist. Would love the chance at winning the series.


  22. I’m very curious about this series now. It sounds too good to be true.


  23. Jax
    March 18, 2014

    After reading the Gives Light series, I was really more aware about injustices in the world. It really made me think and its sad to know that such cruel things are still happening to people even in this modern age when we are supposedly more evolved. Really great series that weaves love and the plight of Native Americans together beautifully.


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This entry was posted on March 17, 2014 by in Giveaway, Reviewer: GROUP, YA / NA and tagged , , , , .

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