NOTE: I received this book free from the author requesting an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's rules and guidelines.
I was first introduced to author D.G. Driver and her high school protagonist, Juniper "June" Sawfeather, when I read and reviewed the first novel in this series, Cry of the Sea, for the 2016 Multicultural Children's Book Day. In the first book, I loved the combination of real life environmental concerns, Native American culture, and fantasy - all centered around teen characters who fans of Young Adult fiction will relate to. Therefore, I was excited to read the second book in the series, Whisper of the Woods.
At the end of Cry of the Sea, June, the daughter of environmental activists, is summoned by her father to a new protest involving the lumber industry and the cutting down of centuries old cedar trees. Whisper in the Woods picks up right where we left off in book one.
In need of funds, one of the local Native American reservations has decided to sell their Old Growth cedar trees to the logging industry. The Sawfeathers are naturally opposed to this decision and have initiated a protest. To complicate matters, the Chief Executive of the Tribal Council in charge of this decision is June's uncle, Nathan.
When in the woods as part of the protest, June is convinced she hears whispering. June feels an indescribable bond with one tree in particular. As legends begin to be told and the mysterious history behind this tree is unfolded, June decides to stage her own sit-in - 170 feet up in the tree! However, it soon becomes evident that June may not be allowed to leave the tree even if she wanted to. What happens next is a beautiful, yet sometimes eerie, story involving a mythical tree spirit that emphasizes the role of these ancient trees on our planet. The novel is very suspenseful and has the reader repeatedly questioning the motives of the spirit.
Will the tree release June? And, if so, under what conditions?
After finishing Cry of the Sea, I commented that I would have liked more Native American cultural connections. Whisper of the Woods delivers that. Probably for this reason, I enjoyed it even more than Cry of the Sea. And, in keeping with the main purpose of the series, it doesn't forget to highlight environmental conservation.
You don't need to have read the first novel to understand this one, but they are deeply connected and it would make more sense. I recommend this novel to all Young Adult fiction and fantasy fans. It is particularly suitable for middle and high-school students. Driver is currently working on the third book in the series.
Read my review of Cry of the Sea here.
Read more of my Book Reviews.