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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
John Sebrook is a 16-year-old who learns quickly that life is not always fair in 450 East by David Robert VerValin. After the death of his parents, John has to leave his Southern California home to live in Indiana with grandparents he barely knows. Not only is that a culture shock, but he discovers that he has some connection to the Native American culture still active in the area, in spite of the displacement of the tribes during the westward expansion of settlers. Fortunately for John, he fits in well at school, is able to join the cross-country team, and starts a relationship with the beautiful girl next door. Several old mysteries surface, though, and create questions that are difficult for John to answer, including the presence of a spirit light in the woods and the disappearance of his uncle 30 years earlier. As John and Madison investigate some strange occurrences, they uncover more than they could have ever expected. Can this teenager accept a completely different way of life and embrace a past he knew nothing about?
VerValin's 450 East is an amazing combination of history, tribal beliefs, the struggles of growing up, and a young man doing what it takes to come to terms with major changes in his life. Wow! This is not only an amazing story, but the history the author shares and works into the present day is certainly something most people know nothing about. David Robert VerValin has created a wonderful look at the difficulties encountered when embracing the past and the beliefs of one’s ancestors while coping with everyday issues in a modern setting. The characters are well developed while the action moves the plot along smoothly and keeps you turning the pages to see what happens next. This story provides a much-needed look at the events that contributed to the formation of the Midwest and how they still can influence what happens today. This is a truly memorable book that is well worth reading and thinking about long after turning the last page.