Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Updated: Jul 7, 2021
Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.
Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and its dark past. But will the nefarious townsfolk and a mysterious Doctor stop her before she gets started?
You know a book is good when you're yelling questions at it. Without a doubt, Elatsoe deserves all the accolades it has received.
Featuring an asexual protagonist whose family plays a central role in the story without their actions causing antagonism or any loss of agency in the protagonist, Elatsoe is a story with a fresh voice.
It is an atmospheric tale populated with ghost dogs (and other fauna), vampires and Lipan Apache folklore that takes place in an America that is just a side step from the real-world country.
This story has mystery, native legends, magical realism, ancestral knowledge, all sorts of inclusivity and a voice that I haven't heard before.
If you like mystery, ghost dogs, folklore, and stories that make you think, then you and your young adult can't go wrong with reading this book.