Saturday, April 30, 2011

In the Arms of Stone Angels

From Goodreads:  Two years ago, Brenna did the unthinkable. She witnessed the aftermath of a murder and accused her only true friend--the first boy she ever loved--of being a killer.

Now sixteen, Brenna returns to Oklahoma only to discover that Isaac "White Bird" Henry isn't in juvie. The half-breed outcast is in a mental hospital, frozen in time, locked in his mind at the worst moment of his life. And when Brenna touches him, she's pulled into his hellish vision quest, seeing terrifying demons and illusions she doesn't understand.

Feeling isolated and alone, she's up against the whole town, targeted by bullying former classmates, a bigoted small town sheriff, and a tribe who refuses to help one of their own. But when Brenna realizes she's as trapped by the past as White Bird is, this time she won't turn her back on him. She's the only one who can free them both.

Even if she has to expose her secret--a "gift" she's kept hidden her whole life.

My take:  This is a fairly action-packed book.  The teens in this book do not play nice by any stretch.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  I'll start with what I liked - the protagonist was interesting and willing to grow.  Her mother, although first painted as the usual enemy, once apprised of the truth, becomes Brenna's fiercest ally.  I also really enjoyed the education on vision quests and a glimpse into the challenges of today's Native American population.  Enjoyed the story and the symbolism used in the vision quest.

What I didn't like:  I know these are small things but they really bugged me.  First of all, the psychiatrist breaching his ethical standards by calling the sheriff when there is a change in White Bird's status.  Huge lawsuit regarding doctor/patient confidentiality.  He won't discuss treatment with the Shaman but he will call the Sheriff?  License revoked.

I just realized I can't share another irritation because it would be a huge spoiler.  Let's just leave it at the way the law is handled.  One of which is that the sheriff should have had some consequences regarding something he did although I appreciated the justness of his conscience.  The second part is the swiftness regarding resolution.  Not the way the justice system or social services works.  The process is long and painful.

Besides those irritations, the story is interesting, enlightening and disturbing.

3/5 stars

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