I want to gush endlessly about this book, but I also want to start reading the next book.
The first book of Ms. Christo's that I attempted was The Place Where They Cried, about the Pony Express War. As amazingly written as it was, as vividly as the characters were drawn and the customs of the Native Peoples were explained, I just couldn't finish it. I had to stop twice, for months at a time, and finally just give it up because I found myself getting so angry at the injustices suffered by the Native Americans. If you have the stomach for it, I really do highly recommend that book.
I always wanted to try something else by Ms. Christo, because her writing was so powerful and intimate. Most of my friends loved this series, so I finally put this at the top of my TBR pile, and I'm so glad I did.
I really didn't know what to expect here. Was I in for another rocky ride of endless angst and heartbreak? Was I going to end up throwing things? Not at all. I didn't even come close. There is a hope that pervades this book. A hope in discovering yourself. A hope in finding acceptance where you least expected. A hope in accepting others for who they are. A hope that even the darkest of your life's experiences can end in brightness and joy. The darkness never goes away completely, but it doesn't have to in order to enjoy the light. Because everyone and everything is dual-natured, good with bad, light with dark.
Skylar is mute, half-white and half-Shoshone, and has lived most of his life in the white world in Arizone. When he father goes missing, he's taken to live with his grandmother on the reservation, which he remembers only as the place where his mother was murdered and he lost his voice in the same violent attack. There he meets Rafael, the boy whose father had murdered his mother eleven years ago. Rafael is an angry boy by appearance and has no friends, as the others seem to ignore him. Skylar forges a friendship with him, and hence they're both able to begin healing from the night that changed both their lives forever.
Through Skylar, we also meet Annie, Aubrey, Gabriel and many others. We get to experience life on the reservation, which the Shoshone have kept as close to their ancestral ways of living as possible. While Skylar cannot talk, he finds ways to express himself. He's compassionate and an astute observer of people. Rafael, underneath the grim facade, is sensitive and protective of Skylar, and he lives both hating and loving the man who was his father, who exists as a ghostly monster in both their lives. It is through each other that Skylar and Rafael find acceptance, friendship, and ultimately love.