Beka Cooper: Terrier

Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce.

If you are looking for a balanced and impartial review of a Tamora Pierce book, you are reading the wrong blog!  I consider myself one of her biggest fans and breathlessly await her next novel months before it is released.  It feels good to breathe deeply now that I have finished it.  🙂

Beka Cooper: Terrier is the first in a new series that leaves mages behind and follows the adventures of a member of the police (Dogs).  Beka is a girl who as a young child was saved from living in the squalor of the worst part of town by one of the police officials.  Now that she is a teen, she is a Puppy, a trainee.  Her adventures begin as she leaves school and starts to work the streets with her pair of Dogs, two of the best in the city.  She is assigned to work where she asked to, in the worst section of town where she will encounter the worst of the society.  Soon she finds herself caught up in one of the largest plots in the city, which she will have to solve if anyone will believe her.

This is one of the Pierce’s best novels yet.  Magic is an intrinsic part of every society that Pierce creates, so this is no exception.  From being able to hear dead spirits on pigeons, listening to whirlwinds, and understanding her purple-eyed cat, Beka has a lot of tricks up her magical sleeves, but they only give her the clues to follow.  Pierce manages to use magic to a certain extent, but leaves the solving of the crime up to Beka.

The best thing that Pierce has done is to give us another example of a strong, strong female protagonist.  The writing is clear and easy, allowing the reader to whiz through this long novel in no time at all.  This is a must for most public libraries as are the rest of Pierce’s novels.  Give them to boys and girls alike who enjoy fantasy and action.

What the Moon Saw

What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau.

Clara is a fourteen-year-old who has never met her father’s parents.  They live in a tiny village in Mexico that her father left almost twenty years ago.  Clara feels restless in her life, not sure if she fits in with her friends and wonders why she feels so different from the others.  Then a letter arrives from her grandparents inviting her to spend the summer with them in Yucuyoo, their village.  When Clara arrives, she is amazed at how at home she feels there.  Over the months she will discover both herself and the story of her grandmother as a girl.

I can’t express how much I adored this novel.  It is a magical story written with expression and vivid details that bring Yucuyoo to life.  I just have to share some of this writing with you:

“With my eyes closed, the sound of the waterfall became clearer.  And other sounds stood out.  It was like listening to a song on the radio, and picking out the guitar, then the piano, and the violin, and all the other instruments, one by one.  In this song there were insects’ wings drumming in waves, and about seven different bird tunes, calling back and forth.”

See how evocative it is, taking you through different senses into an immediate relationship with nature and this special place.  What I enjoyed most about Clara’s character was the ease with which she immersed herself in her grandparents’ world.  I didn’t miss the drawn out anguish of a girl separated from her hairdryer and DVDs at all.  Instead this was the story of a teen discovering herself and answering her own questions about who she really is. 

Share this novel with teens who also wouldn’t mind losing their iPods for awhile.  It is for people who are searchers in life, looking beyond the surface into the depths below.  You know these kids, and they will love this novel.