The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau
Released October 13, 2009.
Fifteen-year-old Zeeta has lived all over the world with her mother who teachers English. She has been raised to dance in the middle of the night, bathe in mystic pools, and embrace the world and its mysteries. Her mother spouts the poetry of Rami all the time and doesn’t believe in rules at all. Zeeta has spent most of her life wishing that she had a normal family. Now the two are in Ecuador. Zeeta meets American teen, Wendell, at the market place and is drawn into a quest to find his birth parents with only the clue of a crystal that was placed in his blankets as a baby. They journey together to a neighboring small village where the answers are hidden in time and everyone seems to have a secret. As she tries to help Wendell on his quest, Zeeta’s home life starts to change after her mother nearly dies. Her mother gets a normal boyfriend and starts to watch TV, set rules, and think about returning to the states. Could it be that everything you really wish for you already have? The first in a new series.
In this many layered, complex work, Resau has created a fascinating heroine who speaks multiple languages, is at ease approaching strangers, and Can move across the world and in a few weeks feel at home. Zeeta is an engaging heroine whose life may seem blissful when seen from afar, but living it takes more skill that one would expect. She is nicely balanced in the story by Wendell, who has left the US for the first time since his adoption. Their romance is well done, with nothing beyond kissing, and an obvious deep connection to one another.
The depiction of Ecuador is done without cleaning it up and making it pretty. There is poverty, begging, alcoholism, deceit, and broken families. But there are also women who are mothers of the entire village, wise healers, friendly people at the market, generosity, and beauty. Resau does not make it simple and easy. She revels in the complexity, creating a real world for readers to immerse themselves in.
Resau’s writing is filled with imagery. Here is a description of the mountains from Page 98 of the ARC:
Each of the mountains has its own personality. Some beam down at you, gently, like a big-bosomed grandma. Some are sexy, slinking around in the lacy clouds. Others shoot up, jagged and fierce, with a passionate energy. Some guard magical realms, their smiles silent and secret. No wonder the locals say that the mountains are gods.
With this, her setting is built and strengthened. Ecuador comes alive in her writing. One can almost smell the popcorn in the air, the fresh bread baking, and the potato soup.
Highly recommended for tween and teen readers who are looking to travel. This book brings a place to life so vividly it is almost like being there. Add a little romance and it becomes irresistible. Appropriate for ages 12-15.
Reviewed from an ARC. The quote used should be checked against the final version for accuracy.