The Sun Jumpers by Ken Luber

The Sun Jumpers

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A time-travel fantasy that transports four teenage cave dwellers to modern-day Los Angeles.

Luber’s (Match to the Heart, 2009) fictional Kishoki people live 10,000 years ago in an unspecified location near the River Gan. They’re hunters and gatherers, and the harsh conditions have led most of their people to leave their settlement in search of something better. Others took the advice of their shaman, Man Who Stands Alone, not to follow the “Antelope People” who left. But if nothing changes, the remaining group will die out completely. Enter Sita, the spiritual leader of an adventurous pack of 14-year olds who are about to take a journey through time and space. She’s a “star stepper” who sees bits and pieces of the future in her dreams. She’s also a “shaman-in-waiting,” the first girl to ever be in such a position. Her boyfriend, Ty, is an adventurer who’s determined to find the long-departed Antelope People and learn their secrets of survival. Ko and Shum, Ty’s “wings” (buddies), agree to accompany him in his search. After they encounter a deadly “emmydactyl” and drink a potion mixed by Sita, they awake to find themselves in the 21st century on a hilltop where the neurotic, 24-year-old Darren Davies is shooting a commercial for his father’s carpet empire. The narrative explores the friendship that develops among Darren, Ty, and Sita, as each seeks his or her identity and purpose. Luber has constructed a lighthearted romp that’s permeated by humor regarding adolescent antics, 20-something angst, and a wealth of inevitable culture-clash misunderstandings. But it also deals with some serious issues, including modern-day bigotry (the Kishoki are a dark-skinned people), the sometimes-troubled relationships between parents and offspring, and the need to find and follow one’s own truth. The author’s Kishoki words are inventive, although the translations sometimes seem frivolous: “ ‘Shnikee!’ she gasped, Kishoki for ‘yikes.’ ” Some “Questions for Discussion” appended to the end also seem unnecessary, unless Luber intends the book to be read in schools. 

A charming flight of fancy that provides a pleasant, thoughtful diversion.  

Publisher: Dog Ear
Program: Kirkus Indie
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