ABOUT THE BOOK
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.
Gabe de la Cruz seems to know way too much about everything,
and her instincts tell Ellie to stay far away. But when he claims that he can communicate with the dead through an ancient Incan artifact, Ellie can’t resist the temptation of seeing her mother again. In the hanan pacha—the Incan afterworld—Ellie’s mother sends a message to help Ellie understand what happened the night of the murder—a message that may be better kept a secret . . .
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marcia was born in Guatemala and moved to the U.S. when she was an infant. She and her family moved around a bit while in elementary school and lived in Louisiana, Texas, and New Jersey. She started writing her first novel during her senior year of high school.
Marcia worked in Salt Lake running a foster care program for a non-profit organization, Centro de la Familia de Utah. She later moved to New Jersey and then back to Texas. It was while living in Texas that Marcia picked up the old manuscript, finished it, and has not stopped writing since.
Marcia has three novels, published by Cedar Fort. Star Shining Brightly was the first novel to be published. The second novel, Reasonable Doubt, was released in December 2007. The third novel, Pick Up Games, was published in May 2009. Marcia now lives in South Texas with her husband and three boys. Marcia's young adult novel, The Huaca, was released in May 2013.
Empathetic characters, check. Believable, intense plot, check. Fabulous writing, check. This is the kind of book that I especially enjoy reading. Mostly because I really like the main character and care about what happens to them. Ellie makes a great main character, she's smart, brave, and wants to be herself, even though she's not completely sure she knows who that is. Unlike her so-called friends, she's willing to give someone else a chance, like Gabe. Gabe, as a character, has depth. Unlike a lot of high school kids, Gabe has responded to the tragedies in his life with more maturity than most teenagers and that provides Ellie with the support she needs when she makes a horrific discovery.
There is much here about life, about friendship and how it changes over time, life without those we love, and discovering that those Ellie thinks she knows best, she may not know at all. I think what I like best about stories like this is that despite the supernatural aspects and the murder mystery, the story feels real. Ellie struggles with real issues, the loss of her mother, changing friendships, and then the curveball that Gabe throws at her, but she never gives up and that feels very real. I can highly recommend this one.