Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott


3 of 5 stars

I don't usually read young adult books, but decided to take a chance when offered the book by the publisher. Ship of Souls is a short book, only 120 pages in print. The author starts with a good premise. We are introduced to D, aka Dmitri, an 11 year-old boy who has recently lost his mother to cancer, been placed in foster care and starts a new school. D is a good kid, polite to his elders and a math whiz. When he is asked to tutor the school's top basketball player, he meets Keem and then Nyla, a tough young girl with loads of self-confidence. The three of them quickly form a friendship.  That friendship is tested when D is chosen as a host for a strange bird with an agenda.

While I did enjoy reading how the author wove the history of the African Burial Ground into this paranormal story, I didn't believe some of the reactions from the kids. It seems like they take all the strange events of glowing/talking birds, a rock monster and being pulled into an underground realm of supernatural, with ease/acceptance instead of being terrified. There was a lot of buildup to the finale which was over much too quickly. Ms. Elliott has a good imagination, but this story left me flat and wondering, "Is that all?"

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