Book Review: Wabanaki Blues by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel – Magnificent YA Mystery

Wabanaki Blues

Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

327 pages

Wabanaki BluesMona Lisa LaPierre is a complex teen. She is the daughter of a Native American mother, who has turned her back on tradition and her family. Mona’s father is older than her mother, is ignorant or oblivious to Mona’s needs, other than basic food and shelter.

The teen retreats into her music. She is a talented guitarist and blues singer, writing her own music, drawing from her own experiences. These experiences include hearing her dead grandmother’s voice advising her and seeing  a girl that was murdered years ago in her high school.

Mona is shipped up to New Hampshire to stay in a cabin with her grandfather, appropriately named Grumps while her parents go to an archaeological dig in Russia. Not only does she miss her high school graduation, but Grumps lives off the grid. No cell phone, no electricity, no Beetle (a guy she would love to spend more time with) and no one to talk to except Grumps. This is not how Mona planned to spend the summer after her high school graduation.

Things begin to look up for her when she meets Del, a guy her age. He plays in a band and asks her to jam with them, and surprisingly Grumps encourages them to hang out together.  When she discovers he is the son of the dead girl that has been urging her to bring her killer to justice, Mona becomes obsessed with the case. And she might just be falling for Del.

Danger lurks in the woods and in unlikely places that would normally be considered safe. Mona has angered people by uncovering long buried secrets. The deeper she digs the more help she needs from Grumps and her extended Native American family.

Zobel created one of the most memorable characters I’ve read about in a long time. Mona develops from a snarky teen to a mature young woman over the course of this novel – but she still has rough edges. She learns about herself while digging into her family’s history and culture.

This Young Adult Mystery was so much more than a “whodunit”. The mystery of the murder developed along with the characters, making Zobel’s novel fast paced and interesting. I loved the rich history and tradition that I learned along with Mona.  This is the first book in a trilogy, and I can’t wait to read the next two books.

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Blues, Book Review, Mystery, Native American, YA

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