Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blog Tour: The Huaca by Marcia Mickelson

The Huaca by Marcia Mickelson, 2013, 256p
Young Adult Clean Fiction, Rating=4.5 stars
Source: Provided review copy from the author for an honest review

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.

Gabe de la Cruz seems to know way too much about everything, and her instincts tell Ellie to stay far away. But when he claims that he can communicate with the dead through an ancient Incan artifact, Ellie can’t resist the temptation of seeing her mother again. In the hanan pacha—the Incan afterworld—Ellie’s mother sends a message to help Ellie understand what happened the night of the murder—a message that may be better kept a secret . . .

I really wanted to talk to someone about this when I finished it!! I think it's a great discussion book. It was very different from what I was expecting and I liked it! There was a lot of set up at the beginning which made a lot more sense to me when I got to the end. 

Ellie is someone who will do the right thing no matter what it costs her personally. We learn at the beginning that her mother was murdered and she's estranged from her best friend, Sarah, because she wasn't willing to just go along and keep quiet about something the guy Sarah likes did. She basically becomes a social pariah after that and doesn't want to be friends with Gabe, the weird guy.  

However, he keeps talking to her and she realizes that she could use his help with her Incan report since she knows nothing about it and he knows lots (and was disappointed he didn't get it to report on) since his greatgrandfather is full-blooded Inca. He shows her the huaca, a sacred Incan artifact, and she's surprised and happy to learn that she can communicate with her mother again. She really misses her mom and her dad won't talk about her.

The way it works is quite interesting and there are a few rules while they're in Hanan Pacha, or the upper world. She can only visit for 5 minutes and then gets slammed back into the basement pretty forcefully and her mom can't see or hear her so there's no way to communicate. The visit brings her comfort and Gabe makes her promise not to tell anyone about it, not even her dad. Later, she is able to see her mom's memories (I'm not remembering the details on how that's able to happen) and she sees part of what happened to her mom the night she died and becomes determined to find out the entire truth so she can help the police find the man who murdered her mother.

Ellie and Sarah do try to work through their conflict throughout the book since they were so close for so long but have been drifting away and she learns that sometimes you're better off just moving on. I loved her and Gabe's relationship, full of friendship and new, young love. She's not always sure of Gabe's motives, though. Her dad is supportive of her decisions and she just wishes he would start the mourning process so he can talk about her mom with her. I also enjoyed the Incan history that was shared throughout the book, but actually thought there would be more based on the book cover (but didn't necessarily feel that there needed to be more).

Ellie is strong and makes the right decisions even when it could drastically change her life. She's not one to just go along with the crowd. I remember how fragile I felt when I lost my mom and I was in my 30's so I can't imagine how she felt having lost her mother at a young age and in such a tragic way, not having any other siblings and a father that refuses to talk about her. She has to make an even tougher decision at the end of the book and I felt myself going back and forth with her as she debated about who she could trust and what she should believe.

I really enjoyed this book and saw that the book covers of two of Mickelson's other books have basketballs on them, so I want to check those out as well!

Marcia Mickelson was born in Guatemala, but came to the U.S. as an infant. She considers herself from New Jersey even though she’s lived in three other states. She graduated from Brigham Young University and now resides in South Texas with her husband and three sons. Marcia is the author of Star Shining Brightly, Reasonable Doubt, and Pickup Games.


Marcia Mickelson said...

Thanks so much for the blog post and the nice review! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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