Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

September 20th, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

Source: Picked up at ALA Midwinter

Publication date: June 14, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from

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. . . .

Someone in my book club recently asked if “eh” was a valid description of a book.  I totally agreed it was and valid and fit my feelings about this book perfectly.  It was in no way a bad book but nothing really grabbed me about it.

It starts off with Willie pretending to be someone else in order to take a teaching job in order to escape from what she makes it sound like a horrible life as practically a slave to her mother and step-father.  Then there is the inevitable romance factor thrown in and of course to make things more complicated the school she’s teaching at is apparently haunted.

There were several factors that prevented me from enjoying this book more.  First off it would have been nice to see more of the Native American history, how these girls’ families became so affluent, etc.  There were only a few references to how these girls needed to work harder than “white” girls to be socially accepted and how Willie is snubbed by a poor white woman who thinks she is a Native American.  But nothing is ever touched on at a deeper level.

The romance also seemed quite random.  Willie meets this boy one time and then proceeds to have maybe 5 minutes of conversation with him here and there and all of a sudden they are in love?  It just did not work for me.  Plus I also found it hard to believe she really pulled off the deception of being a teacher and only one person ever suspected the truth.

I did enjoy the haunting story but just wish there was more to it.  It got old pretty quick that Willie is continuously bothered by a tapping at her window and has a random seance here and there.  I wanted to see more of the ghost really communicating with her in trying to get her to solve the mystery behind the haunting.

I made it through the whole book and it ends up pretty much as expected but I wasn’t jumping for joy in excitement nor groaning over how painful this was to read.  So it was really a middle of the road book for me.

Posted in 3 Star Books, Books, Young Adult

One Response

  1. Pam (@iwriteinbooks)

    It sounds like a pretty neat concept. Too bad it was just sort of lukewarm.

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