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Stone and Silt, by Harvey Chute

Posted by Bethanny Lawson on February 25, 2016 at 6:20 PM

     "A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold. At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door. Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death. Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love"

     Short Summary: This books brings together several different types of families and cultures together in a beautiful display of the courage people can display when faced with the ugly side of life.

     Full Review: This book is a masterpiece of meshing cultures. Nikaia is our main character, a sixteen year old girl from a family of mixed races. Her father married and Indian woman, which makes it hard for the family to truly fit in anywhere. There's nothing about the story that could be considered especially remarkable, shocking, or never done before in literature, and yet it's such a beautiful story in it's simplicity. I love it when books manage to create a great story in realistic circumstances. Sometimes, the truth is what seems really impossible or most incredible, and this story follows events that, while entirely fictitious, could have reasonably happened to anyone living in that time.

     The characters in this book are all unique, and none of them are perfect. There are very few flat characters, most of them add a lot to the story through their diversity, how they interact, and their different ways of life and how they intersect.

     Nikaia's mother and her Indian family have a very different lifestyle than the one Nikaia's father came from. The cultures are unique and fascinating all on their own, and together they are beautiful and entirely different. I loved this couple's support of each other, and how they brought different elements of their lives together to raise their family. Despite any persecution, they were strong because they were together. They only really needed each other. This family was a beautiful illustration of what a healthy family should be.

     Then there's Nikaia's best friend Yee Sim, and his Chinese family. They're hardworking like Nikaia's father. They are happy and content in the simplicity of their life and home.

     Frannie goes to church and weeps in the back alone, because she has to make her living at the saloon from the company of men since her husband died. Yet she shows more goodness and kindness than most of the high in society, or the enforcers of the law. She is the one there for Nikaia's family in their time of need, she hides Nikaia and gives her information to help her discover the truth and restore peace to the town, along with serving justice to those who deserve it.

     The Sheriff's deputy, in a position of one who should be upright and responsible, wants wealth as much as the family in town known to cause to trouble to get what they want. Because of this, he teams up with that family and together they use deception and thievery for self-gain.

     All of these people are living together, working together, worshiping together, and surviving together. The people of the town have different motives and entirely different goals in life, yet they all come together in different ways when a big issue comes up that drags them all into the same fight. It's a good lesson on morals and ethics, and would be a fantastic book to spark discussion in classrooms or book clubs.

     This is a story that truly shows how much the author has invested in their characters. Because of this investment, the characters leads the story into its greatness. Rather than the plot leading the characters around, the characters lead and demand the plot in a humble, quiet, simple, yet incredibly powerful way.

     I loved how effective the bit of romance was in this book. It didn't try to overthrow the more important parts of the plot, and it wasn't overdone. I could relate to Nikaia and her thoughts and feelings even though we're from completely different times, cultures, and families. This went beyond just romance. She was so real, as were all of the characters. I think that's why it impacted me in the way it did.

     Overall, this book may not have the appearance of “the next big hit” but it made a profound impact on me because it tried to stun me or attempt something no author has done before, but because it drew out the issues in real, human life, and connected to me in it's realness and the beauty humans can show when put through the fire of trials.

     Overall Rating: 5

*I recieved this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*

Categories: Book Reviews

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