Friday, May 24, 2013

The Huaca by Marcia Mickelon

* Don't forget to check out today's stops on The Emerald Ring Blog Tour: Read For Your Future, LDS Book Review and Why Not? Because I Said So!

For YA Friday I am taking a look at Marcia Mickelson's The Huaca.

The Story:
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings has had a rough time. First, her mother was murdered by intruders. Now, her best friend is turning her back on Ellie for a boy. In school, Ellie feels shunned. In fact, the only person to take an interest in her is Gabe De La Cruz, the school reject.

Ellie tries to stay away from Gabe, but he draws her in with his knowledge about the Inca's, and Ellie, who has a history project to finish, needs his help. But, things get weird when Ellie finds out the Gabe has a way to contact the dead. Ellie risks it all to see her mother again, and to figure out the truth behind her mom's murder.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoy books that bring in history and culture. The Huaca is filled with cool information about the Ancient Incan civilization. The Huaca is actually a ceremonial box used by Incans. Even though there is a picture of the box on the cover image, I totally didn't catch the meaning. I think many people will be confused by the title. I'm glad the author has a good explanation of a huaca later in the book.

Our main character Ellie is well developed. You are by her side as she faces the abandonment of her best friend. Though I enjoyed getting to know Ellie, the first 40 pages of the book are all character development with little action.

Then there is Gabe. The guy totally creeped me out in the beginning. He is a loner with cuts all over his arms. He almost feels like a stalker, but you know he is integral to the book, because he is part Incan. The scene where we finally get to know Gabe and the huaca is a bit unusual. I can't say I liked the blood letting, even though it explained the many cuts on his arms.

The story continues on as Ellie tries to find her mother's killer, and it's a tense ride. I have to say that overall this book will interest YA readers, but I did have some small issues as noted above.

The Inside Scoop!
I just had to contact Marcia and find out about her inspiration to delve into the Incan culture. Here is what she told me:
"My mother suggested I write a novel about the mythology of indigenous people from Guatemala, where we are from. I kept thinking about her suggestion. It is a two and a half drive home from my parents', so I had some great thinking time. I love to think when I drive. During that drive, I shut off any music or audio book I might have ordinarily listened to. All I wanted to do was think. And the ideas came full and fast. I could barely take in all the details that I had flying through my head, and since I was driving, I couldn't write them down. By the time I got home, I had the story mapped out in my head. As soon as I got home, I wrote down some details, and then it was time for the research. I researched the mythology of several indigenous people before I settled on the Incas. Some of the Inca folklore seemed to fit the ideas I had been creating in my head during the drive. As I delved further into the Inca mythology, I loved the idea of taking some facets of their mythology and adding my own invented ideas to that mythology.. A huaca (pronounced wa’ca) is an object that represents something revered. Huaca is a word from the Quechua language, a native American language of South America."

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