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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Changes are difficult for everyone, but for a young teenager, moving to a new community and settling into a new high school can be overwhelming. Fortunately for Cady, she quickly becomes friends with another girl, Irish, and a young boy, John Ray, who is slightly older than her. With her Native American heritage, Cady attends the nearby reservation school and enjoys the mixture of learning experiences which include Native American arts and legends. Finding an eagle feather in the school hallway starts a whole chain of events that have to do with spirituality. When assigned a project to interview an Elder, John Ray arranges for Cady to interview his grandmother. She’s shown photographs, including one with a young girl wearing a unique beaded necklace. Later, she discovers a hidden cavity under a floorboard in her bedroom and pulls out a leather pouch containing the same necklace. Watched over by a blue jay, Cady must unravel the mystery behind the necklace and why no one wants to talk about it. All while her connection with John Ray evolves from friendship to something stronger.
Ann Dallman’s young adult novel, Cady and the Bear Necklace, is a passionate look at Native American culture and how it affects a young girl as she grows from a child to a young woman. This coming of age novel is full of mystery and native culture. The plot develops with growing tension as the reader wants to know more about the necklace as much as Cady does. Young adult readers will certainly feel connected to Cady and all her feelings and growing up emotions, struggles, and conflicts. The characters are realistic and the Native American history and culture is an interesting added bonus. The author has developed a wonderful tale of adventure, mystery and native culture. Well done! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.