Friday, April 3, 2015

*Challenge Review* Trail of the Raven, Haiti by Chip Davis

Genre: YA/Adventure/Coming of Age
Published: 2014
Pages: 166
Ages: 12+


Jack's life consisted of new schools, in new towns, with the same old problems. The pattern continued until he saw Ana deep in the woods. Through Ana, Jack developed a keen interest in learning who he was and where he came from, his ancestors.

"The best way to learn about your ancestors is to put yourself in the same environment they were in. It isn't enough to know what they did. If you really want to know them, you need to learn about what shaped them into who they were." Those were Ana's words. Her death left Jack with the realizations that he knew little of this amazing woman who was his adopted mother.

The first step of Jack's quest takes him to the last place she visited before his adoption, the island of Haiti. New friends, unexpected events, and the island itself give Jack a greater understanding of Ana, and ultimately himself.

Come with Jack as he begins his Journey.


I don't remember now where I first encountered Chip Davis, but it led to him suggesting this book as my "Book by an author I've never read before" for the Popsugar challenge. I figured I didn't have much to lose (besides the $2.99 to buy the book) so I pencilled it in (penned really, I hate pencils.) So he made the list, but I honestly wasn't really in a hurry to get to his book (for one thing I have three Stephen King books on my list and I know I'll enjoy those.) Then I found IABB weekly confessions and Chips comments on those are almost always hilarious, so his book catapulted towards the top of my Popsugar reading list.

Now my thoughts on the book itself. This was a pretty quick read for me because it's targeted towards a slightly younger audience than I fall into. Because of that, the language and tone of voice was a little juvenile. I'm fairly certain it would appeal to the 12-15 age range the book is targeted towards, though, so it's understandable.

In spite of the juvenile tone of voice, I was immediately captivated by the story. I needed to know more about Aninha and Jack, and if his mother could possibly redeem herself.
I loved the underlying message of this story, especially considering it's targeted audience and the execution was decent, although I would have liked to have seen many of the secondary characters fleshed out a little more so that I could connect with them emotionally as well. I would definitely recommend this book to my children when they're old enough to read it, but also think many adults would enjoy it as well.

Overall I give it 4 out of 5 stars because it sucked me in and kept me reading, but I would really like to see more of some of the characters.

*Note about the photo: I confessed on IABB that my strangest blogging habit is handwriting all of my reviews before I post them here, and at least one person said they were interested in seeing the handwritten versions, so I'm going to start sharing those with you from here on out. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Chip discovered a passion for travel as a boy when his family moved from Arkansas to Kenya for two years as missionaries. He continued moving regularly as an adult, working construction jobs across several states, until having two school-aged sons dictated that he settle down. Fast forward through 15 years of structural design, the boys are grown and it is time to travel once again.  

Chip's dream is to become like Jack, the main character in his books. He will be traveling, learning new cultures and places, and looking for ways to help people along the way. This, in turn, will fuel the books to come.

First Chapter Video

Challenge Scorecards

As I stated in my review, this book has been on my TBR since soon after discovering the Popsugar reading challenge, so for Book Bingo I used it to fulfill half of my "Two Books" TBR Pile block. Also as stated in my review, for the Popsugar challenge this book is fulfilling my "Book by an Author I've never read before" category. 

Other categories it could fulfill include:
A book set in a different country (half the story takes place in Haiti)
A book a friend recommended (Joood from Platypire Reviews said it was good)
A book you can finish in a day (I finished it less than 24 hours after starting it)

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