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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Indigo Notebook* by Laura Resau- young adult book review
Also by Laura Resau:

Star in the Forest

Red Glass
The Indigo Notebook
by Laura Resau
Grades 7+ 336 pages Delacorte October 2009 Hardcover    

As long as she can remember, fifteen-year-old Zeeta has wanted a normal life; traveling throughout the world with her English-teaching mother makes her weary. Now they’ve moved to Ecuador, and Zeeta is starting another notebook – indigo – describing her experiences, impressions, etc.

Zeeta is used to assimilating to new countries, speaking many languages fluently and quickly making friends with the adults in the village and another teenage visitor to Ecuador – Wendell. Adopted at birth, Wendell is seeking his biological parents. Zeeta agrees to help Wendell by acting as his translator and taking him to meet people in the village.

Together they meet an older couple who act as parents to village children from troubled homes. Here they gradually uncover the mystery of Wendell’s parents and their connection to a crystal found in his baby blanket. His mother is dead; his father, Faustino, is the brother of the older man.

Meanwhile, Zeeta’s mother, always a free spirit, has had a near-death experience and is reevaluating her priorities - dating a normal guy and settling down to relatively mundane activities, such as watching TV. Is she becoming the kind of mother Zeeta has always wanted, or is Zeeta watching her mother’s unique character fade away?

Hinting at a romance between Zeeta and Wendell from the beginning, the fact that Wendell has a “sort of ex-girlfriend” keeps their relationship at a friendship level for most of the story. Zeeta gains a unique insight into Wendell as she translates the letters he’s written to his birth parents through the years.

Adopted into a happy family, Wendell has always longed to know more about his origins. At the same time, he also wonders about his disturbing, almost paranormal ability to see into the future. With an action-packed ending involving crime, smuggling and imminent danger, the book takes an unexpected turn, divulging the dark side of Wendell’s birth father.

Resau’s first-person narrative immerses the reader in both the characters’ lives and the culture of rural Ecuador. Her characters are well-developed and dynamic, changing over time to reveal the complexities of their unique circumstances. Wrapping the story together is a new-age philosophy; with quotations from Rumi and hints at healing powers and other elements of Eastern religions.

Themes of being true to oneself and finding one’s place in the world will resonate with middle and high school readers who struggle with finding their identity. The many-layered story includes some more-mature situations involving alcohol, the possibility of drugs and crime.

The novel ends with a glossary and pronunciation guide as well as an author’s note regarding her inspiration for the story. Additional books are planned to create a “Notebook” series.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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