Familiar both with tracking to survive in the wilderness and counting change to survive under capitalism, Shane possesses the resourcefulness of an irresistible protagonist. Her practicality also provides the perfect foil for her extraordinary ability—inherited from her four-great-grandmother—to summon dead creatures, adding texture to her supernatural world. What starts out as Lorenza’s quest to locate two missing children becomes Shane’s journey through Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, and the ghostly land Below to find her mother after she disappears. While faeries and vampires inhabit Shane’s surroundings, the heart of her story is her family’s endurance despite various tragedies, including climate devastation and rich settlers’ betrayal and theft. Frequent flashbacks and late-breaking perspective changes add narrative complexity, alongside rich depictions of cultural identity, generational trauma, and community care. A secondary character’s revelatory discovery offers an empowering narrative of reclaiming one’s stolen ancestry. Shane’s protectiveness toward her younger brother, complex love for her inconstant grandfather, and sturdy bond with her mathematically minded best friend add further relationship depth. Bug enthusiasts will also find kindred spirits in Shane and new acquaintance Dr. Richards, an older Black scholar of biology, magic, and comics.
A classic fantasy adventure and a balm for any soul weary of oppression. (note on the title) (Speculative fiction. 12-18)