Sarah's Stars

Drew Hayden Taylor. The Night Wanderer
Annick Press  $10.95  ISBN 978-1-55451-099-3  215 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 13

Rachel was staring directly at the watery moon when two things happened. First, a raucous outcry came from a nearby tree as a family of crows was rudely awakened by the shaking of their comfortable branch. Like dark demons they flew off in different directions, startled and angry. Second, she instinctively looked up to the branch so recently evacuated by the crows. There before her eyes, Rachel Stoney was sure, positive in fact, she could see the dark image of what appeared to be man standing up, on a branch, silhouetted against the bright disc of the moon.

Tiffany Hunter isn't looking forward to much in her life. Her mother left her father for another man, a white man, she's failing school and she hasn't seen any of the world except for the first 45 minutes of shrubbery and dead-end town outside the Native reserve she calls home. The only light in her bleak existence is her new boyfriend Tony. So what if he's white? People are talking and her father disapproves but being with him is exciting and fun. Add to the mix, a mysterious European stranger who moves into their basement. His nocturnal lifestyle unsettles Tiffany's broken family and soon the news around the reserve is that two young men disappeared about the same time as the stranger moved in.

As tension and tempers escalate, Tiffany and her father have a huge argument and the disgruntled teen threatens suicide before running into the woods. Who will come out alive?  Tiffany? Or the prowling stranger with his glowing red eyes?

Drew Hayden Taylor's novel about a family that has been torn apart, First Nations lore and an eternally tired man looking for rest, will certainly keep readers turning the pages. The mixture of fiction and fantasy will appeal to many teenagers who come across this book and the words are wonderfully and beautifully written. The descriptions of family fights, the stranger's memories and the nature around the reserve are very detailed and compliment the action and dialogue nicely. The only qualm I had with the book was that there was a large amount of curse words, so I wouldn't recommend the Night Wanderer to younger children, but rather for mature readers and teenagers this book is sure to please.

I rate The Night Wanderer five stars.


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