Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper
I was looking forward to reading Ms. Cooper's latest book, mainly because I'm such a fan of her "Dark is Rising" sequence, but Ghost Hawk didn't live up to my expectations. It started well, recounting the story of Little Hawk, a Native American boy, growing up at the time of the first English settlers in what is today New England. (I thought that part was fairly interesting, but now that I've read Debbie Reese's review, I find that it's not all that accurate of the Native Americans of the time. ::sigh::)
Once the first part was complete, that's where the story bogs down, in my opinion. I know the dialogue was meant to show the formality of the language of the time, etc., but I think students will find that difficult to read. It will take them out of the story, and that's definitely NOT what you want. Taking that one minute dissatisfaction out of the equation, I thought the story was beautifully written. The vividness of the descriptions and richness of the language were all that you would expect from one of Ms. Cooper's books.
When I finished the book, I thought, "Boy! That was a waste!" So as to not give any spoilers, let's just say I was completely dissatisfied with how the story proceeds and especially the conclusion of parts 3 and 4! One of the things that I enjoy most about reading children's and YA literature is the sense of hope for the future that I see in them. It can be a story of heartbreak, sorrow, of the most horrible things imaginable, but it will still leave you with a sense of joy, of hopefulness. That the future is bright and life will only get better. I didn't get that with Ghost Hawk, and that saddened me.
I can see where many adults read and rave about Ghost Hawk, but I won't be one of them. I wish I could give it a higher rating, but sadly a D+.