Book Review: The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

The Revenant   

The Revenant
By: Sonia Gensler
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 14 2011
Genre: Young Adult
315 pages
Buy it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble
Source: I own it

My thoughts:
I wouldn't have thought the terms "historical" and "paranormal" would pair well, but Sonia Gensler does a nice job of making the two work together. I am not a fan of historical fiction, so it was the paranormal plot that kept me reading.

The paranormal elements just did appear often enough to retain my interest. This is a good old fashioned ghost story, which was kind of refreshing in the current market full of much, much weirder stuff. The Revenant feels very familiar, almost like a story you remember from childhood- yet, I can't say I remember reading anything like it that's been published recently. 

I did appreciate learning a little about Cherokee culture, since the book is set on a reservation. I also liked the undercurrent of racial equity issues- a topic that many YA readers still need an opportunity to explore and mature in. 

So with all the praise, why didn't it earn 4 or 5 birdies? Simply a matter of taste. For YA readers who enjoy both the historical and the paranormal genres, this book will be a must-read.  

Summary from GoodReads:
When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn't belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wealthy than she, and the school is cloaked in mystery. A student drowned in the river last year, and the girls whisper that she was killed by a jealous lover. Willie's room is the very room the dead girl slept in. The students say her spirit haunts it.

Willie doesn't believe in ghosts, but when strange things start happening at the school, she isn't sure anymore. She's also not sure what to make of a boy from the nearby boys' school who has taken an interest in her—his past is cloaked in secrets. Soon, even she has to admit that the revenant may be trying to tell her something. . . .


  1. I love historical fiction and Cherokee history so this book sounds like a perfect read for me!


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