A girl who is unaware of her mystical powers inadvertently awakes a monster and tries to imprison it again.
On a family vacation at Lake Itasca, near the Mississippi’s headwaters in Minnesota, 15 year-old Jeni buys an interesting cat statue that looks demonic. Almost immediately, Ice, a “Native American” boy studying to be a “medicine man,” tries to buy it from her. Ice knows that if the statue gets wet, it might awaken a fearsome underwater monster that dwells in the lake. Little does he know that Jeni already has fallen into the lake with the statue in her pocket. Shortly thereafter, people start dying. Ice convinces Jeni that she has some supernatural powers, but he can’t keep her out of his own struggle to defeat the monster. Feeling responsible, Jeni is determined to help, a choice that places both her and Ice in several life-threatening situations. Pietron deftly juggles action, paranormal elements and a burgeoning romance between Jeni and Ice. Characterizations ring true: Jeni comes across as believable and attractive, and so does Ice. Unfortunately, the author’s implicit assertion of an undifferentiated pan–Native American mythos troublingly perpetuates old stereotypes—a mystifying choice, given her care in including tribal affiliations for all the speakers identified in the chapter epigraphs. Had Ice’s religion and culture been equally thoughtfully and authentically developed, this book might have succeeded.
Hugely problematic. (Paranormal suspense. 12 & up)