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

*Sati* by Christopher Pike- young adult book review
by Christopher Pike
Ages 12+ 256 pages Tor March 2011 Paperback    

“What if God was one of us?”
That question, asked in a popular song of a few years back by Joan Osborne, has been written and sung about and pondered by people for probably as long as humans have had any conception of the existence of deities. Sati by Christopher Pike is a poetic novel about how a truck driver picks up a lovely young lady who claims that she is God.

The truck driver, Mike, doesn’t believe in God but has to admit to himself that there is indeed something very special about Sati. She changes the lives of everyone around her for the better. When she starts to conduct meetings at Mike’s apartment, gathering a larger and larger following with each one, has she deluded everyone, including herself? Or is she really God made flesh, come back to spread the Good News?

I initially found it strange that Mike (the first-person narrator of the novel) lets Sati, a complete stranger, unhitch the truck from his trailer and park it after he gives her a ride to his apartment, not to mention that he lets her stay there without being worried that he might get murdered in the middle of the night.

As I read, however, I came to the conclusion that instilling a feeling of trust is something that comes naturally to Sati. That doesn’t mean that the characters in this novel automatically believe she is God, but after they spend enough time in her presence, most people are willing to believe the possibility that she might be.

Mike’s landlady, the extremely religious Mrs. Hutchinson, at first tells Sati that it is “blasphemy” to claim that she is God. She attends the meeting Sati gives at Mike’s apartment and experiences the meditative silence at the beginning of the meeting. Though Sati makes no claims of performing healing miracles, Mrs. Hutchinson’s arthritic fingers are healed enough for her to garden without pain. Soon others come forward saying they have been healed just by being in her presence. As an added bonus, her shortbread cookies - with jam in the middle and sliced cherries on top - which she serves for snacks after the meetings, are irresistibly delicious.

Mike’s ex-wife, Linda, is jealous that Sati is staying with him, though he tells her there is nothing going on between them. Linda is dating a guy named Dick, whom Mike can’t stand. Mike hopes he can maintain a relationship with his daughter, Jennifer, who has been having terrible nightmares lately. Her mother has been taking her to a psychologist to try to help stop the nightmares. Jennifer loves being around Sati, and Linda seems to get a sense of fulfillment out of going to Sati’s meetings as well.

Mike’s wealthy friend David loans him over a hundred thousand dollars to purchase a couple of used trucks to go into business for himself. Mike hires two other friends to drive the trucks for him. He hangs on to the idea that if he becomes more successful, he can somehow win Linda back, but his expectations are unrealistic. David sees the potential Sati has to make tons of money if she wanted to, and he wants to get in on the action. He has Mike check up on her, to see if she’s legit or running a con.

Sati is a novel that will, to use a tired cliche (but one that is nevertheless true in this case) make you laugh and make you cry. It, like Sati herself, is a thing of beauty. The handy Reader’s Guide at the back of the book makes Sati a great choice to read in an English class or a reading group. I can’t recommend Sati highly enough. Get it, read it, experience it, reread it, pass it along to friends.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Douglas R. Cobb/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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