Books by State: Texas

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

“Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.

Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and it’s dark past. But will the nefarious townsfolk and a mysterious Doctor stop her before she gets started?” –Summary from Amazon

Elatsoe is the kind of heroine that can inspire young girls everywhere. I’m not quite so young anymore, but she certainly inspires me! She’s got a strong moral compass that she never wavers from and a deep understanding and connection with her heritage. Plus, she’s a total badass! She is very skilled with her power of raising the spirits of dead animals. As a Lipan Apache, she has to put up with a lot of prejudices and unfair treatment which only fuels her drive to make a mark on the world. It’s also mentioned that she is asexual, which I thought was a nice touch because it takes away the cliche of the girl and guy bestfriend duo ending up as a couple by the end of the story. Her and Jay’s friendship is adorable and perfect just the way it is. They have several wholesome moments and a lot of funny banter. They both have that quick wit sort of humor. There are tons of great quips, but my personal favorite came from Jay: “Hey. My eyes are up here, man. Don’t talk to my clavicle.”

When it comes to the plot, it is quite an upsetting story. A cousin’s unjust death at the hands of a rich, seemingly untouchable man who could get away with anything. That is a villain that seems all too familiar. The rich have always profitted from the poor, less fortunate, and/or minorities. Of course this villain is given much more fantastical, monstrous abilities, but the similarities are far from vague. The fact that Elatsoe is able to give one of these monsters what he deserved is very satisfying, but the thought still lingers: “there are so many more like him in the world, aren’ there?” People who take what they want, when they want it, who believe the world is solely for them because they are the most important person in it and cannot comprehend why anyone would think otherwise. No life beside their own means anything to a person like that. Elatsoe facing off with such a person and coming out the victor is a beautiful message. This was my second time reading it; I just adore it! It’s a powerful story from a powerful new author.

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