Mar 272024

Booklist: Little Badger returns to the world of her revelatory, award-winning debut, Elatsoe (2020). Seventeen-year-old Lipan Apache Shane and her mother, Lorenza, set out on a search-and-rescue mission to find two young siblings missing in Texas hill country. In this alternate 1970s America, fairy rings are transport centers. The missing seem to have stumbled on a group of dangerously unpredictable (and potentially world-destroying) mimic rings. They could be anywhere—and anytime. After Lorenza vanishes too, Shane undertakes her first solo rescue with the help of her ghost dog, Nellie. (Like all of the women in her family, going back to her four-greats-grandmother, Elatsoe, Shane is a ghostraiser, able to summon insects, birds, and animals to her aid.) The search takes them to a deserted lakeside town hiding a monster, to the site of a notorious Colorado mimic ring disaster, and, ultimately, Below—to the underworld. Shane’s progress is interspersed with family history, stories, and flashbacks to the traumatic loss of their home eight years earlier. A slower pace allows readers to absorb each inventive twist, unexpected encounter, jolt of creepy menace, and dreamy illustration. It also gives them a chance to know the family and friends, old and new, past and present, who witness and support Shane’s growing determination to not only survive and return home but also thrive and find justice.