If you think that the brilliant writer Susan J. Kroupa has a special insight regarding the minds of teenagers and dogs, you are only partly correct. She also has an amazing knowledge of indigenous American spirituality and Irish lore and is an impressive mystery writer. All these elements make her newest book, TreeTalker, the masterpiece that it is, a book that not only middle-graders will enjoy, but also much older readers.
TreeTalker is a mystery, a crime drama, a fantasy, and a bit of Irish folklore shown from the viewpoint of the teenagers who get dragged into the action. The crisis begins with a shapeshifter who usually, but not always, displays the shape of a dog.
While the main characters are the teenagers and the shapshifter, this multifaceted, multilayered story will captivate all readers.
The teenagers, as usual, are the first to recognize evil when they encounter it. The surrounding adults are a little slow on the uptake, if not absolutely clueless, but they display good will and courage when the teenagers show them what they need to do.
While escaping captivity and bringing criminals to justice in the material and magic worlds, the teenagers also deal with their real-world issues, tensions in a patchwork family, migrants’ economic fears, bullies at school.
The supernatural challenges overcome, the teenagers return to their lives in the material world. At the end, the teenagers are able to forgive their imperfect parents and recognize that the adults who love them are doing the best they can under imperfect circumstances. The adults are able to recognize what they need to do.
TreeTalker is an exciting book, a thriller with a satisfying and happy ending. Do yourself a favor and buy it for yourself and everyone you know.