Yesterday, I eluded to a special book that I found in my garage-sale adventures. This book was it. It caught my eye immediately by the cover – I promise I will get to the whole issue of me judging books by their covers later – but I instantly recognized Oneonta Gorge, a beautiful hiking area leading to an incredible waterfall in my area.
The seller only wanted one dollar for it, and I’m telling you, this book was brand new. I had to have it, if only for the locale depicted on the front. As I walked up to pay for it, a very pleasant man said, “Oh, you found the Easter egg in our little sale. Do you know the story behind this book?”
I replied, “Well, I recognized Oneonta Gorge, but that’s about it.”
“This,” he pointed to his wife, “is the author of that book, Jessica Blackburn.”
To say I got a little giggly and excited was understated, but unfortunately it doesn’t come out as praise and appreciation, and, rather, leaves me sounding like a bumbling idiot. I thanked them both, made some dumb remark about how cool it was to meet her and I couldn’t wait to read it, and I ran off to the car. Shyness… it is the worst kind of friend that rears its ugly head at the least helpful of times.
I took the book straight home Saturday, and read it cover to cover yesterday. This book wins a bunch of points from me for its localization. The main character attends high school in my town, Stevenson. There’s plenty of commentary on the local area, weather, and other things that only a true gorge resident could know or understand. It made me feel like I’ve been there, in this book, before.
All of this just adds to the fun of an already great young adult story about a girl who is only beginning to know herself, with a special twist of karma to boot. Rylee grows, right before the reader’s eyes, from a slightly awkward sophomore to a powerful young woman, trying to balance her newly discovered power from within.
Blackburn touches on a myriad of relatable teenage struggles: a sick parent, budding romance, childhood friends, trying to find your place in the world, and adolescent secrets. The author’s tasteful wordsmithing gives texture that is beyond what I expect from young adult novels, and was a sheer delight. I would definitely recommend The Echoing, from Bonneville Books, to the young adults in my life!
P.S. Ms. Blackburn, if you ever come across my little blog, it was truly a pleasure to meet you, and I am excited to see what you have in store for us in the future!