Trickster’s Girl, by Hilari Bell

Trickster's Girl, by Houghton Mifflin

Environmental issues are a hot news topic these days, including global warming, preserving state parks, clean energy, and improving recycling programs. There are many ways to get involved in environmental programs at a state or local level. There are a lot of books with an environmental slant hitting the shelves, including novels that give a slightly different view of these issues. One of these is Trickster’s Girl, by Hilari Bell.

Trickster’s Girl is set in the future, in a strictly regulated society. Global warming is no longer up for debate: it’s a fact of life. The ice caps have melted. A tree plague deployed by terrorists has wiped out most of the tropical rain forests and is spreading across the world. Humans have proven themselves to be poor stewards of the planet.

Kelsa, still trying to recover from her father’s death, is more focused on the growing tension between her and her mother than any of these issues. But then she meets a shape-shifter who claims to be Raven, the trickster spirit out of Native American Legend. Raven needs Kelsa’s help to fix the planet by healing the leys, lines of power responsible for the health of the land. Raven can’t heal the damage himself; since humans caused the problem in the first place, they have to fix it. So Kelsa reluctantly agrees, and they set out on a journey that will lead them all the way to Alaska. But Raven didn’t mention he had enemies, enemies that would stop at nothing to prevent Kelsa from completing her task, and soon they’re on the run from a biker gang and other spirits who want humankind gone forever. If Kelsa can’t heal the leys, those spirits just might get their wish.

While Trickster’s Girl is fiction, it touches on some important issues, and it’s not preachy about it, either. The damage humans have done to the environment is the motivating factor in the book, but there’s a message of hope, as well as strong themes on the importance of doing what’s right, friendship, and family.

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