Heroes of the Water Monster

HarperCollins/Heartdrum. May 2023. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062990433.
Gr 5-7–The second installment in the “Healer of the Water Monster” series is a fantastical blend of action, Navajo lore, and familial relationships. As Nathan is getting older, he understands he needs to pass the care of Dew the water monster off to Edward, his (sort of) stepbrother. But that doesn’t make it any easier, coupled with the fact that Dew needs to learn more about her water monster siblings. So when Yitoo arrives to teach Dew, it seems like the perfect fit! However, Yitoo has quite the grudge against the Pale People and sets out on a path of revenge. Readers will be engaged in the fascinating Navajo legends and characters that Young has populated throughout the novel. Young deftly touches on a number of tough topics like climate change, generational trauma, and divorce in a manner that is insightful and age appropriate. The evolving relationship between Edward and Nathan is realistic and heartwarming, and highlights the dynamics of blending families. Yitoo, while being downright mean at times, is still easy to empathize with.
VERDICT An immersive and heartfelt story that tackles tough topics with grace.

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