The Huaca by Marcia Mickelson
Published by Cedar Fort
3 out of 5 stars
Format Egalley (available now!)
Once again, my apologies to the publisher, I’m a bit late with the review due to some exam hell I was stuck in.
I usually launch the review with a summary of the book, but this time I’m going to launch straight into a bit of a rant. Sorry. The title is misleading as anything, it suggests a supernatural vibe (as does the synopsis) and whilst thats there, this is not a supernatural book, its a book about dealing with loss – of a murdered mother, of friendships and of life as it was. That doesn’t make it a bad book, but I wanted to clarify that what you think your getting, your not, well not really.
The formula for the book is the tried an tested – teen girl suffers a great loss before the start of the book (in this case a murdered mother), life changes for her, but everyone else goes on the same, so how does she cope? By falling for the wrong boy (who’s really the right boy), the boy that everyone else ignores and bullies, who’s a friend to her…. yes, its all been done before, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
There were shades of ‘Speechless’ by Hannah Harrington here, Ellie’s best friend Sarah is ignoring her at the opening of the book, because Ellie did the ‘right thing’ by reporting Sarah’s boyfriend to the police for a crime against the hero of the book (but at this point he’s a non-hero) Gabe. Just like speechless Ellie’s thrown down the social ladder, and left to survive alone, only Gabe is bothering with her, but she doesn’t want to know – he’s strange and has a very strange manner about him, he lives in a haunted house, there are rumours that he self harms and he starts talking to her about contacting the dead….
Mickelson’s writing is very melodic, its a sing-song type book that captures your imagination and brings you into a heart felt story that deals with loss in a gentle, yet refreshing way. Although I’ve compared it to Speechless and said the plot isn’t overly original, that doesn’t matter, as the writing takes the book to new places, does more with the story than others have before. It really is a book that I wasn’t expecting, its a great book for those that want to read about real life, with a bit of magic thrown in. So why 3 stars? Firstly the title and misleading synopsis, the book isn’t going to attract the right audience, its attracting syfy geeks and mystery lovers. Secondly it was a gentle story, and a little predictable (although it does go further than I’d thought – which is good), everyone is normal, there are good in bad in everyone, which is very true to life, but for a book you need a villain or a bitch or someone to bring a bit more fire, it was there but not in full force.
Overall a good read, perhaps for the slightly younger teen, particularly those who’ve lost someone, it’ll be a good story for those trying to cope still.
EGally kindly provided by Netgally and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.