The theme sounds simple: sixteen-year-old half-Indian Juliet just wants to be a normal teenage - but she can't, because she is the Chosen, with all the powers and responsibilities that come with the position. Her abilities to hear voices and see visions have always troubled her and her grandfather Sicheii's words have been puzzling and unhelpful.
All this is about to change in Wind Catcher, the first book of the 'Chosen' series that takes Juliet's troubled world and ramps it up to a whole new level when she discovers a series of lies has shrouded her true purpose in the world.
On the face of it, the plot sounds familiar: teen angst, epic quest, self-discovery, supernatural forces, even Native American influences. But as with any story, it's all about how it's handled and, especially in the case of teen stories, it's all about building characterization and creating a compelling adventure: both keys to attracting and retaining young adult readers.
And Juliet's dilemma holds these facets in droves.
First of all, her family is loving yet not united in its perception of the non-Indian world and its powers. Neither is it united in its interactions: her mother and grandfather have a prickly relationship and Juliet is often caught in the middle, captivated by his stories and reality which are often negated by her mother's responses.
As she becomes involved in her school's story of her kidnapping, designed to alter unusual facts about her experience, and comes to believe Sicheii has involved her in something dangerous and deadly, she's ever on a quest to find the truth at the heart of these deceptions and half-stories - and that's the pulse of Wind Catcher, which revolves around this journey and its constantly-changing paths.
Many young adult books revolve around young adult decision-making processes, but the joy and excitement fueling Wind Catcher is that Juliet's search for truth doesn't end with its emergence, but with the bigger picture of what she'll choose to do with it. That's the heartbeat of a powerful saga that fully immerses readers in all the possible scenarios that can stem from one's choices in life - and the reason why Wind Catcher stands out from the crowd.
It's the heartbeat of a powerful young adult adventure steeped in Native American legend and tradition, fueled by a feisty female protagonist who refuses to take the easy way out whether it comes to belief, truth, or love, and who faces down kidnapping, betrayal, and an ultimate choice. Add in a growing circle of supportive friendships and you have a story that is vivid, engrossing - and (so you'll be forewarned) ends in a cliffhanger, ready for Book Two....Continua