The night my best friend Gracie disappeared, I had a nightmare.
A monster loomed from the shadows around the campfire. I ran. The thing stretched after me…
I woke gasping, afraid it might somehow be true. Gracie could always make me feel better – but she didn’t respond to my email. Not that night; not ever.
That’s what lead to my summer camp counselor job here near Gracie’s home. Hiking and canoeing fill every moment but I don’t forget why I’m here. I’m going to find Gracie.
The camp-owner, a famous Native seer, isn’t any help. Her herbal healing and Spirit Bear talisman won’t help find Gracie.
There’s the local ranger and my campers, but will they believe me? I’m alone with this. Somehow, every step toward Gracie takes me nearer to something scary. This is a mystery I must solve.
I actually found it hard to find a place for this book. It’s not completely a mystery book and it isn’t paranormal (though there are spiritual hints). I’d like to say that it’s a bit of coming of age with a huge chunk of mystery and a slight pinch of paranormal/spiritual elements. Keep that little genre recipe in mind when you read my review.
Kit is annoying, but I really like her. She isn’t the whiny teen annoying and she isn’t the fall to her knees at the sight of a hot guy annoying. She’s not that kind of annoying. She’s the kind of annoying that I was as a teen. She’s determined and passionate about her missing best friend, but she’s wary to speak up to the very people who could help her or know information. She’s also not that very observant for a person possibly looking for a dead body and the culprit.
However, this doesn’t stop the book from being interesting. I like that Kitsai (awesome name) is a normal teenager. Her best friend is from the internet, she’s unsure about herself, and she doesn’t really know how to talk without sounding bossy (kind of like me too). So many times there are books with the main character not having enough normal to them. This isn’t the case for Kitsai.
The main mystery is about Gracie, Kit’s missing best friend. Gracie seems to be very much like Kit. She seems to be passionate and had some good observation skills. You don’t really get much about her except through Kit’s memories or the little tidbits tossed into the air through eavesdropping. It is worth mentioning that even though Kit thought about her constantly and wanted to find her, the reader (or at least I) doesn’t really feel the expediency of it.
Kit shines in the climax of the book. She changes slightly from the “wary of adults” teenager to a girl asking for help. She also changes from the “ignoring what’s around you” and sees what has been there all along. I like that there is a change in her, but I wish there was a bit more time for the reader to digest this change. However, I believe there is a sequel to the book, which is cool.
By Starlight is a quick read with easy prose. It’s only a hundred pages and change. Seriously, it’s about a days read. I took a while, but that’s because this time of year (Dec.) always calls for extra attention. It isn’t hard to be pulled in and experience the book.
I like the scenes of the premonitions and when folklore was being passed down. It gave the book a spiritual feel that Kit wanted in her investigation, but like Kit we aren’t given an outside force to solve the mystery for us. We have to observe and see the world through Kit’s eyes as she finds her way. In this, the book is coming of age.
Sure, there is a mystery. However, I want to say this is the coming of age for a possible future sleuth. Kit has the passion and the skills, she’d make a great detective. It is that small growth that wants me to see Kit doing more.