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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Brave by Jeanne M Curtin is an exciting and very well written young adult adventure story. Teenager Corey discovers that he is an important direct descendant of a Native American tribe whose ancestors’ squabbling and division caused the anger of the giant monster called Stone Coat of Micimeck Mountain. Legend says that the giant is responsible for the disappearance of people over the years. Corey is ‘the One’ who can somehow bring an end to this curse. When Corey gets into trouble for spraying graffiti and failing a school test, he thinks he is to blame for his parents' rows and his father leaving home. So he rises to the challenge given to him by Owlfeather to set off for the dangerous mountain (with the annoying Joey) to appease the angry giant and bring peace and happiness to his family and community. Overcoming his fear and doubts, Corey dices with danger and death on his mission and makes some astonishing discoveries about himself and others when he uncovers the truth about the giant and a trapped and unseen tribe who dwell within the mountain caverns.
Brave is a real page turner of a story with a well thought out plot that moves at a good pace. I loved the backdrop of native American legend and traditions and the way the author combines that with her characters’ present day teenage issues. The dialogue is natural and realistic. There is plenty of suspense, mystery, danger and humor too as the story unfolds, and some unexpected twists before it reaches a satisfactory conclusion. Curtin’s characters are wonderful – very well depicted and, by the end of the book, I really felt that I knew Corey. Corey himself is, importantly, very likable and real with his initial lack of belief in himself and his determination to take up his challenge and make life better. Young adult readers will warm to his personality, the way he grows in confidence and maturity through the extraordinary things he encounters, and how he discovers the way to defeat fears or dangers. I loved the connection between Corey and Joey resolving their differences and this impacting on the animosity between their divided ancestors and the curse. A brilliant and very enjoyable story.