Etta, the Brave


Young Adult - Adventure
276 Pages
Reviewed on 01/11/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Lee W. Collins lives with his wife, Anne, on California's central coast. A "retired bureaucrat," he wrote the draft of "Etta, the Brave" during a month in Guanajuato, Mexico, where he and Anne visit frequently. "I spent summers with my grandparents," he explains, "although it was in the Mojave Desert--not the mountain setting of Etta, the Brave. There is a special relationship between children and their grandparents, and with this book I tried to capture some of that magic. And I threw in some more magic, while I was at it."

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Etta has a unique gift. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to find out about it very soon. She’s off to her grandparents' cabin in the mountains for the summer. It’s a very isolated location, but she loves going every year. She shares a special bond with her grandparents, a bond that is going to get even stronger and perhaps even save someone’s life. And, as she learns about her gift, Etta is going to learn more about nature, the animal kingdom and the natural world all around her, and how to survive in the wild. She is also going to learn more about people, about caring for others and showing compassion - something she’s always been good at - but now she has a gift that makes her more responsive to everyone around her.

This is a marvellous story for young readers. Lee W. Collins’ young people’s novel, Etta, the Brave, is a gentle story that follows a young girl’s summer adventure at her grandparents’ cabin. When she discovers her gift, or more accurately it’s revealed to her by her grandparents, Etta goes on a journey of learning and discovery that opens her heart and mind to a surprisingly remarkable method of communication. Etta’s journey becomes the reader’s journey as well as both Etta and the reader learn about nature and the animal kingdom. As the learning curve intensifies, so do Etta’s adventures until she is confronted with one that threatens to change her life forever. And it does, but not in the way the reader expects. This is a story full of compassion and valuable information with believable and lovable characters, and a plot that will entice readers of all ages.

Jack Magnus

Etta, the Brave is a coming of age adventure novel for young adults and preteens written by Lee W. Collins. School was finally out, and Etta found it difficult to suppress her rising excitement as she packed her luggage and got ready for the trip to Marmot Lake. Her parents would be staying for the weekend, but Etta would have the whole summer to spend with her grandparents in their cabin on the lake. Last year, she had spent a month there, but now that she was eleven years old, her parents had decided to let her stay for just about the whole summer. The road trip there took a whole day, including the stops they made for snacks and to see the sights from a scenic overlook. When they finally did get there, Grandma and Grandpa, and their dog, Banjo, were waiting for them. Etta always looked forward to spending time with them, especially at the lake where she could fish, swim, and hike the trails that snaked throughout the area. First, however, she would relish each step on the ladder that took her up to the loft room where she would be sleeping. The loft had a small window from which she could see the lake, the moon and the pier, and she loved watching the birds flying overhead from her own private domain. This summer was going to be even more special than Etta could have ever dreamed. She would learn about an amazing skill that she and her grandparents shared.

Lee W. Collins's coming of age adventure novel for young adults and preteens, Etta, the Brave, will delight anyone who loves animals and the outdoors, no matter what their age. I fell in love with Marmot Lake and the surrounding countryside, and found myself envying the endless summer of swimming, fishing and hiking that stretched out in front of Etta. Her coming of age is a special one indeed as Etta learns that she shares a gift with her grandparents. Watching as she learns to modulate her gift is hilarious at times, and seeing her grow as she interacts with all manner of woodland creatures is transcendent. I especially enjoyed her grandfather's and her camping trip to Jayden Peak and the metaphysical discussions they have with Great Bear about Polaris. There's action, adventure and danger lurking within these pages; there's also quite a lot of magic. Etta, the Brave is most highly recommended.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Lee W. Collins pens an enchanting rite of passage tale in Etta, the Brave. Henrietta - “Etta” - is going to visit her grandparents for the entire summer. She is excited to go to her favorite place in the whole world - her grandparents’ cabin on Marmot Lake. This summer she is finally old enough to sleep in the loft! Etta was looking forward to swimming, hiking, and quiet times of reading and drawing, but mostly spending time with her grandparents. She says goodbye to her best friend, Sarah, her parents and life below the mountain. Let summer begin! However, Etta has no idea that this summer was going to change her life forever. A family secret would be revealed, a gift would be discovered. Etta would never be the same.

If you placed the classic story of Dr. Doolittle and the antics of Disney’s Brother Bear and Brave into a mixing bowl and gave it a good stir, Etta, the Brave would pop out! This story is an animal lover’s dream come true. Fierce, comical, vain and loyal, the animal personalities are delightfully portrayed. Collins’s word descriptions draw you into the setting, painting visual pictures of nature and wildlife. Furthermore, the inclusions of the hand-drawn illustrations are a nice touch. Collins’s foreshadowing statements pique your curiosity, giving inklings of what is yet to come. The young protagonist’s character grows and the adventure heightens with every turn of the page. As with every good children’s book, there are life lessons to be learned. The narrative teaches respect for the environment and all those who dwell in it. Etta, the Brave commissions the reader to use their uniqueness to make the world a better place.

Jim Angius

I thoroughly enjoyed “Etta, the Brave”. Mister Collins is a master story teller who writes with warmth about love of family and the wonderment of nature. I enjoyed his gentle sense of humor with the personalities of the animals Etta made friends with. I hope that there’s a “Etta, the Brave, Part II” in the works!