blo Teens Read and Write: Teen Fiction Review: THE REVENANT by Sonia Gensler

Friday, August 26, 2011

Teen Fiction Review: THE REVENANT by Sonia Gensler

Author: Sonia Gensler
genre: Teen Fiction/Historical/Ghosts
When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn't belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.
Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wealthy than she, and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie's room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.
Willie doesn't believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn't sure anymore. She's also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys' school who has taken an interest in her—his past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even she has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something.
THE REVENANT is like that great meal you make with a little of all the great stuff in your kitchen. Gensler blends a bit of history, mystery, culture, romance and paranormal into a delicious mix. 

I always enjoy fish-out-of-water scenarios and the the main character taking on a new identity was an added bonus. Willie is flawed and isn't the kick-butt heroine I usually favor, however her strength comes from within and she shows courage in unraveling clues to the mystery, creating a new life, maturing and fixing her mistakes. 

The lush setting and culture provides a fresh take from the usual YA fare, and while the romance plays a small role - I would've preferred more - it adds a sweet spice. And it's appropriate for all ages since in that era a lustful glance was considered pushing the sexual envelope! 

The ghost aspect ratcheted up the creepy without being overly scary. And important issues like racism and socio-economic snobbery are addressed. 

The pacing slows at times but the prose is always lovely and I was thoroughly invested in the multi-faceted characters and how they were all cleverly weaved into the mystery. And - Glory Be! - the ending is thoroughly satisfying.

You won't need Stallone to save you from a cliffhanger!
For those who want a moody, atmospheric historical mystery with a dash of romance and spooky ghost story, THE REVENANT is a savory dish! 


Blodeuedd said...

Spooky! Not a big fan of ghosts, and there seem to be many of them around now. But it does sound different too

Unknown said...

Ooo, this one sounds pretty good! I dismissed it because of the... boring cover, but it looks like I was wrong! Awesome review, I'll have to check this one out.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

this one looks excellent, thanks for the great review!!

Small Review said...

Thanks for this review! I was wondering about this book, but I hadn't heard much about it. I think I'll pick it up soon now.

Jenny said...

Hahahaha for a minute there I was like "why does she have a picture of Sly Stallone?" and then the whole cliffhanger thing made complete sense. Duh. Love the visual:) I really like the sound of this one, I'm loving books with a historical element more and more!

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

Though I'm not really a fan of ghost stories, now I'm feeling rather famished for one. You certainly know how to whet an appetite.

It's almost hard to imagine a YA book ending in a satisfactory way.

Great review.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh... this sounds so good, and delicious! I love a book with flawed characters and that doesn't shy away from all the intense issues. Plus, I love a satisfying ending!

However, don't get me started on Stallone's Cliffhanger. I did enjoy the film, but found so many inconsistencies I always shout them out when this is on a rerun. Guess, the suggestion is don't watch this one with me... ;D

Natalie said...

I have to admit, this sounds like something unique, which I'm always interested in. And a satisfying ending? WOO! I've been stranded on one too many cliffsides lately.

A Canadian Girl said...

Just the fact that there's no cliffhanger ending makes me want to add this one to my wishlist. Luckily, it's already in my TBR pile since I thought this one seemed a little different from what I normally read. I'll bump it up now though.

Rummanah Aasi said...

Great review! I love how this one combines several genres and does them all justice. Looking forward to reading it. :)

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Gorgeous review! It sounds like it has all the right elements :)

And LOL at the cliffhanger pic :)

Sonia said...

Wow, this one sounds great! Hadn't heard too much about it but all of the elements seem to come together nicely. Great review!


LOVE the review!! I haven't even looked at this one, but with that review, I might take a look!


Lola said...

I alllmost picked this up a while ago. Thanks for the review! There haven't been many on this! :)

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