In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.
The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.
Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.
The image on the cover really caught my eye, so I give this cover major kudos! I love the overlay of the raven that hides next to the girl's face.
Kelsa is strong minded, I like this. We will get along just fine!
I'm sad to say that I really didn't connect with this book as much as I would have liked to. There were things about Trickster's Girl that I really liked, and then other things that took away from the reading experience for me. By the time that I reached the ending, I had to war with myself over how I truly felt. What it came down to is simply that I liked this book. Liked it enough to finish it. Liked it yes. Loved it? No.
I have to give credit to Hilari Bell for choosing such a fabulous backdrop for her story. As Kelsa travels with Raven as her companion, they drive through some stunning scenery. I really enjoyed how a lot of monuments and state parks are mentioned. Anyone who has ever visited these will automatically be able to transport themselves into that part of the story with Kelsa. Also, there is an underlying current here about taking care of our environment. Kelsa's mission is to repair something that we, as humans, have torn asunder with our careless nature. The entire book discusses the natural beauty of the planet, while at the same time showing how we need to preserve it.
The one downside to providing so many beauteous scenes in this story is that Kelsa and Raven spend much of the book traveling. Therefore the book unfortunately moves rather slowly, especially at the beginning. Towards the middle there are chase scenes and things pick up a bit, but I was never really invested in the movement of the story. I liked Kelsa, and I thought Raven was funny, but their journey just didn't stick with me. I wanted to believe in them, I wanted to root for them to succeed, but it seemed like I just couldn't get a foothold into their world. As soon as my interest was peaked, they'd be off traveling again and the book would slow down.
Despite the plot movement though, I would like to praise Hilari Bell for her seamless incorporation of a mix of magic, nature and Native American mythology. There was always just enough magic to make things interesting, but also a focus on the nature that surrounded that magic. A lot of what Raven mentions in the book ties into the beliefs that Native Americans held about the world around them. That nature itself is magic, we only have to look closely and learn to tap into it. I was quite happy with how that was shown to the reader.
Overall, as I mentioned above, I did like this book. I'm just sad that I didn't connect with it as much as I would have liked to. There are some very impressive elements wound up into Trickster's Girl however, and I do suggest that you give it a read. Pick it up from your local library, borrow a friend's copy, and take yourself on a journey.
Title: Trickster's Girl
Author: Hilari Bell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: Hardcover; 288
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Final Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart