Monday, June 7, 2010
Book Review: Stronghold by Terri McIntyre
When 13 year-old Joe Aberdeen’s world is ripped apart after his mother’s tragic death, he feels torn between his neighboring grandparents, whom he loves and in whose home he is always welcomed, and his father, divorced from his mother several years earlier and living 1,200 miles away. Although his father has visited him from time to time, Joe hardly knows his father’s new wife and their daughter–Joe’s step-sister. He admires his father, but feels a special closeness to his grandparents and to the area where he has been raised in Indiana. His grandparents want him to live with them and he wants to stay in the place where he is most familiar.
Joe’s father must take a stand and, to the objection of Joe and his grandparents, takes his son with him to Arizona. During the long drive, Joe mentally reaches back, back to what’s familiar and what he loves. He’s resistant to the new sights his father points out, resistant to the inevitable change that’s in store for him. He resists all attempts of affection shown to him.
Arriving in Arizona’s high-desert country and forced to be with a family he barely knows, Joe finds himself overwhelmed and homesick to the core. The only friend he makes is the family’s wolf-dog. Through the family’s patient efforts, Joe gradually thaws. His feeling of belonging is improved when he makes a friend, a boy his own age whose home is close by. Still, he branches out alone much of the time and begins exploring, finding relief in creating a fort, his own stronghold. In the process of building his stronghold, Joe finds buried items, which he soon learns to be ancient ruins.
At school, Joe finds he is a racial minority–a strange situation for him. All the other students and even the teachers are Native American. He finds himself accepted and becomes absorbed in a surprisingly interesting class–social studies. However, he soon finds himself embroiled in a dangerous situation involving Indian artifacts.
I found Stronghold an absorbing book, interesting for all ages, though it is primarily for young adults. The author speaks with authority having taught Navajo children and raising her own family in a multi-cultural environment.
Stronghold is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.com/Kindle, Barnsandnoble.com, and other on-line stores. For more information, visit the author's website http://www.terrimcintyre.net/