Gives Light (Gives Light #1), by Rose Christo
“Sweet.” “Inspirational,” “Heart-warming,” “Thoroughly enjoyable” –
Story blurb: 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.
Available in e-book format – 372 KB
About the author: “I am Plains Cree and Lenni Lenape. My best friend is Shoshone-Bannock. I mostly blog about the crap going on in Indian Country today. We may not be on your local news network, but trust me, there’s a LOT going on in Indian Country today. Some of which you’d probably be shocked to learn.
My grandpa was Saline Shoshone. He was the coolest old guy you’d ever meet. That’s probably why the kids in Gives Light are all Shoshone, too.
Few things bother me more than racism. If somebody tells you “Please stop mocking / stereotyping / inaccurately portraying my culture, it really hurts my feelings,” but you’re more concerned about your freedom of expression, then guess what? You’re a racist.
Right now I am writing a story called The Place Where They Cried. After this I’m going to write another contemporary YA story. No title yet but I’ve got the outline.
Munito sakehewawinewe—“God is Love.”
Review by Gerry Burnie
I am always on the lookout for unique stories, or at least stories that have a unique aspect to them, so when I read the intriguing blurb to Gives Light (Gives Light Series#1) by Rose Christo [self-published by Rose Christo, July 2012], I knew I was onto something quite unique.
Gives Light is the first of a trilogy by that name, and although I haven’t read the other two editions, I think it might be best to start the series with this particular volume. It is described as containing 353 pages (estimated) but when the spaces are deducted—between the block-style paragraphs—it is probably half that number.
If a story can be summed up in one word, then the word that applies to this story is “sweet.” There is not a lot of tension or angst, and even the sexual content is limited to kissing and a bit of petting, so unless the standard is particularly puritanical it would be quite appropriate for young adults.
The story is told from the point of view of Skylar St. Clair, a 16 y.o. Shoshone Native who has been mute since his throat was slashed during the murder of his mother some five years previous. From that time he had been living with his father until his father mysteriously disappears as well.
He is then put into the custody of his estranged grandmother who resides on the Nettlebush Reserve, and from then on it is the story of adjusting to reservation life; including learning the traditions, and getting to know its cast of characters.
For the most part these are all quite charming, typical teenagers, who readily welcome Skylar into their midst; all except for the enigmatic Rafael, son of murderer who slay Skylar’s mother. Yet, the two of them are gradually drawn together by both their commonalities and differences, and when they do finally unite it is like a blossom that blooms in the shadow of the forest; pure and fragile.
I found very few quibbles to mention: The writing is strong; the characters engaging; and both the plot and pace kept me involved. However, there were a few minor disparities that left me wondering. For example, it was never really explained how Annie Little Hawk learned to sign. ASL training is not universally available, and I would think less so on a remote reservation. Moreover, I occasionally thought Skylar’s language was a bit sophisticated for his background. One phrase that comes to mind is, “…Regardless of his administrations.” Grammatically it is quite correct, but not the sort of language a 16 y.o. would be likely to use.
I have already used the term “sweet,’ and now I’ll also add the terms “inspirational,” “heart-warming,” and “thoroughly enjoyable.” Four and one-half bees.
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