4 out of 4 stars
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Strongheart by Charlie Sheldon was an interesting tale of a granddaughter reconnected with her grandfather. She shows up on his doorstep, just as he was heading out an adventure with some deeper purpose. This propels them quickly into the great outdoors on a hike in deep in Washington State's Olympic Peninsula wilderness. While the adults see beauty, this rebellious 13-year-old sees prison. Little does she know it is about to change her life; if only she can get her grandfather to believe her. It doesn't take long for her to disappear and the drama begins to unfold. Since she's a rebellious teenager they're not sure if she struck out on her own in rebellion or if something awful has happened to her. They search for days and I won't reveal the plot, but it's an interesting tale as they search for his newly found granddaughter.
Inside that story another story develops if only anyone will believe her. The encounter with a bear a day earlier sets the stage for will be an intriguing story complete with bears, evil on the sea and more. The book switches to fantasy while interweaving the present world as well.
Entwined in that is some history of Native Americans, honoring of elders and some grief. I found myself rooting for Sara even though she was the unruly teenager that didn't show a lot of respect. You could see in Sara that there was something inside of her that really wanted to connect with her grandfather and her heritage and that made her a likable character. William Mira and Tom although of an older generation we're also characters I wanted to get to more about. I liked hearing of their earlier adventure in the Washington State's Olympic Peninsula wilderness. Also hearing about Tom’s previous trips with his grandfather showed a parallelism that was having at that time with his granddaughter, though he was not so rebellious as Sara!
The book appeared to be professionally edited and formatted great. I did not see any areas and the format was easy to ready. I enjoyed that most of the story took place on the trail and there was some realism as to what could happen if you're lost in the woods. I would rate Strongheart by Charlie Sheldon at four out of four. I enjoyed the book and would welcome a sequel. I would recommend friends read this book, especially if one is studying Native Americans, it might give them some more perspective. Also, it could be fun to talk about the dynamics of the relationships between the characters.
It was nice to see a grandfather and granddaughter connecting in a positive way, though there was still conflict. But it showed how working through that conflict can make for a great relationship. It would make a nice book for book club as there could be so many tangents and discussion topics from fantasy, to Native Americans, to multi-generational relationships. Not to mention the beauty and the joy of nature and how that is mixed into the setting.
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