by Julie Haydon.
(Book received for free for review from Feather In Cap Publishing Pty Ltd.)
I think this book was incorrectly labeled a young adult book.
Going into it, I knew it was a YA sci fi/fantasy book about humans who had a mental connection with an animal ("Interspecies Telepaths"). Based on that, I expected a couple things: 1) YA books tend to be quickly paced 2) the main thrust of the plot would be the mental connection with animals.
Both of those things were wrong.
At the 10% mark of this book, there was neither hide nor hair of any animal. I suspect the author likes to hike and camp -- the whole book thus far was about that. It felt more like an adult fiction instead of the "Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA" label. Very, very slow, but I was learning a lot about hiking and such. Interesting enough, but it felt like I was reading the wrong book.
At about the 15% mark, we met an animal. Once. The main character made the mental connection with the animal (wolf pup) somewhere around the 20% mark. The only "fantasy" in the book thus far was a Native American grandmother who could talk to spirits, see into the future, etc.
By the 30% mark, I was losing interest. The bond with the wolf seemed like the least important part of the story, barely getting a mention. Also, at this point the book became more preachy (save the Earth, save the animals -- nothing I disagree with, but again, this felt like I was reading a different book than expected). Also, I skipped a whole chapter because the "spirituality of Native Americans" was so heavy.
Somewhere around 40% in, things started getting unrealistic. There was a subplot about a scam artist pretending to be the main character's adult brother who was kidnapped at age 5. He scammed the family and then robbed them. Upon crossing paths with him later, the main character sat down and had lunch with him. He literally robbed their house, stole money and goods, pretended to be their missing son for a week, caused them a great deal of pain. Why in the world not call the cops? Instead the main character seemed charmed by him.
I gave up at the 50% mark. Yeah, I pressed on longer than I would have, because I was hoping the plot about the animal mental bond would pick up.
While it wasn't a good match to my tastes, it wasn't a badly written book technical writing-wise, or if you're looking for a book about hiking and camping. I really think it must have been mislabeled though -- I've never encountered a YA book that had no child/teen characters. The vocabulary didn't seem teen-level, either. I enjoyed it at first, until it was clear the mental bond wouldn't be the main plot. And I sure did learn a lot about camping, hiking, and national parks...
Rereading my post, I feel more frustrated than anything. I still want to read the book I thought this was!