YA Book, Elatsoe|
by Darcie Little Badger
YA Fiction, Fantasy
Levine Querido Publishing, (368p) ISBN 978-1-64614-005-3
Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.
There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge,
and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly
everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings
of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.
Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through
generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes.
But she is going to do more than pry. The picture perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely
on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
"A teenager with supernatural gifts must solve her cousin’s murder before it’s too late.
Aside from the fact that she owns a ghost dog named Kirby, Ellie is like any other
comic book–loving, ice cream–eating Lipan Apache teenager. Her non-Native friends
include her childhood buddy Jay, who is white, and her cousin Trevor’s Latinx wife,
Lenore. Yet Ellie does have traits that set her apart: She has inherited the talents
of Six-Great-Grandmother, her powerful Lipan Apache forebear, and plans to skip college
to work as a paranormal investigator. When Trevor dies in what appears to be a car accident,
his ghost appears to her briefly, begging that she protect his wife and child. Ellie must
call upon her strong lineage to rid her ancestral land of an ancient curse. Even as she
discovers some of her own tribal relatives have been complicit in historic wrongdoing,
she must save her family, animals, and community from destructive forces and restore
balance to the world. A fast-paced whodunit set in a contemporary world like our own,
this is a creative fusion of Indigenous cultural influences and supernatural fantasy.
A brilliant, engaging debut written by a talented author, it seamlessly blends
cyberstalking with Vampire Citizen Centers and Lipan Apache stories. This groundbreaking
introduction to the fantasy genre remains relevant to Native histories even as it
imaginatively looks to the future.
Educates about settler colonialism while also entertaining with paranormal twists.
(Speculative fiction. 13-18)"
"Indigenous stories, modern-day technology, and the supernatural successfully blend to build a
fast-paced murder mystery in Little Badger’s intriguing solo debut. After 17-year-old, asexual
Ellie’s older cousin Trevor is fatally injured in an apparent car accident, he comes to her in
a dream, identifying his killer and begging her to protect his family. Lipan Apache Ellie,
named for her “heroic ancestor”—her maternal sixth-great-grandmother, Elatsoe, now known
as “Six-Great”—has inherited from her the gift of waking and training ghosts, and sets
out to reveal the accident as a crime and unmask the killer. Accom-panied by her faithful
sidekick, the ghost of her dead dog Kirby, her loyal friend, “white Celtic-and-Nordic-American”
cheerleader Jay, and actively supported by her understanding parents, Ellie battles with ghosts,
vampires, and exorcists in a series of suspenseful confrontations—including a descent into an
underworld of trilobite fossils—that increase in intensity and eventually solidify her place
in her strong maternal lineage of Native protectors. Cai’s grayscale spot illustrations imbue
the book with shadowy breath and movement, bringing a lyrical undertone to the energetic plot
and multifaceted, refreshing voice. Ages 12–up. Author’s agent: Michael Curry, Donald Maass
"Ellie Bride is an intelligent, determined, and asexual young Native woman with the ability to bring
the dead back to life, as demonstrated through her stalwart companion, Kirby the poltergeist puppy.
One rule remains unchanging, though: humans must never be brought back from the underworld.
After Ellie’s beloved cousin dies and reveals the murderer to her in dreams, she must find a
way to unravel the truth behind the eerie town of Willowbee, Texas, and work with her premonitions,
her family, and her fae-descended best friend to keep everyone safe from a vengeful ghost. Little Badger’s stunning, haunting debut brings to the fantasy genre a fresh voice and perspective, weaving in folktales, omens, and urban legends of the protagonist’s Lipan Apache culture. Illuminated by Cai’s intricately beautiful chapter-opening illustrations and interspersed with Apache terminology and mythology, often presented through stories of Ellie’s namesake and ancestor, Six-Great, Little Badger’s fast-paced, spine-tingling mystery follows Ellie the aspiring PI (paranormal investigator) and her allies as they battle vampires, spirits, curses, and familial and personal grief to overcome an evil that threatens to end them all. Older readers raised on series like the Spiderwick Chronicles or Artemis Fowl will delight in Ellie’s tongue-in-cheek, self-assured voice, as well as her adventures with the mystical and magical elements that run through her lineage."
About the Author: Darcie Little Badger is an author, an Earth scientist, and a member
of the Lipan Apache Tribe who since 2017 has severed the Tribe as its expert geologist and as a delegate to
the National Congress of
American Indians. As an author, she writes short fiction, long fiction, and comics, specializing in speculative
fiction, especially horror, science fiction, and fantasy. After studying gene expression in toxin-producing phytoplankton, she has received a PhD from
Texas A&M University. Her short fiction has appeared in several publications,
including Fantasy Magazine, Strange Horizons, and The Dark,
an anthology of speculative fiction by indigenous writers. Elatsoe is her debut novel.