In The Arms of Stone Angels
Author: Jordan Dane
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 4 Stars
He looked thinner, not like the strong boy I remembered. His golden skin that once looked like sweet caramel had turned pale. And someone had cut his long black hair to make him conform to what they thought he should be. If White Bird knew what they'd done, he would have fought them. And I would have given anything to see the fire in his eyes again. But in his condition, he had no fight left...
"Oh, my God. What have they done to you?" I whispered, not recognizing my own voice. "What have I done?"
14 years old Brenna Nash escaped for Oklahoma after a horrible murder of a girl in her class, a murder she accused to be done by her best friend, half-Caucasian half-Native Indian, White Bird. Now, two years later, she returned to Oklahoma and learned that White Bird was locked in a mental hospital since that day. Feeling guilty for not stepping up for her friend, Brenna decided to seek for the truth; whether White Bird is the true killer or not. Unfortunately the whole town seemed to against her; the sheriff thought she was involved in the murder and the local bullies harassed her. Seeking comfort in graveyard, she tried to unreveal the mystery, but some people who knew the truth would stop her at nothing.
I really enjoyed this book; I'm a mystery lover and this book satisfied my thirst for it. Along the way I guessed who might be the culprit was - and it turned out my prediction was correct, yeay. At first I felt annoyed with Brenna for being an angst teen, but along the way I saw more about her and I liked her. She has many layers and behind her seemingly egoist behaviors, she actually care a lot. Another thing I like about this book is there's no damsel-in-distress moment, wooohooo! I can't tell you how much I love it; I've read too many books (YA and non-YA) where the girls were just hopeless and constantly need to be saved. That's not what happened to Brenna. She was bullied yet she's still strong and continue trying to save White Bird. Of course, due to his condition, we could only met the 'real' White Bird near the end of the book but Brenna explained a lot about him, she made me felt like I knew White Bird too. Sometimes I was annoyed with the way the girls in YA book describe the boys she love, but not in here. It was clearly that Brenna loves him, but she never went over the board with her love; it's love, not adoration.
Not only that, this book also covers plenty issues; starting from racist, bullies, prejudice, and sexist. It was a bit unfair for the adult in this book; most of them portrayed either as prejudice people with hidden motives. But hey, sad as it seems, it's also the fact. It remind me how often we look at other people based solemnly on how they dressed and to think about them based on whether they have benefit for us or not. The supernatural element in this book was done subtly but nice; it didn't way over the top. Actually it seemed like something that could happen in our lives. I felt like I've learned something about Native Indian from this book; about their custom and practice. In these days where people of the world mixed together in almost everywhere, it was sad that in some areas (especially small town/village) racism is still alive and kicking.
I think this book is a must read for YA fans who like mystery, strong heroine and bigger issue than I-love-a-super-guy-but-I-can't-be-with-him-because-he's-immortal thing.
ps: This review is part of April is NetGalley month. I received the e-copy of this book from NetGalley, thanks!