SPFBO Status: Cut
Overview (No Spoilers):
Falling Through Stars is a young adult novel that is loosely inspired by Alaskan mythology, eloquently tying together a tribe’s legends with everyday life. This story follows Ts’ellbah, a young orphan who is taken in by her Aunt and Uncle and raised as their own. Always recklessly racing her dogsled, Ts’ellbah awakes at the beginning of this novel disoriented after a terrible accident. Shaken, Ts’ellbah’s concern mounts as she experiences strange memory lapses and fainting episodes that are linked to visions. With her clan having to survive in the bitter cold, any weaknesses are culled, and as the fits continue her community’s patience stretches thin. Will Ts’ellbah heal before her clan casts her out into the bitter cold? Perhaps more importantly, will she be able to convince her people of the looming threat that shows up in her visions before it is too late?
Olsen captures the pain of being ostracized by the community you love out of superstition and gossip, rejected even by close friends. Additionally, the cruelty of seeing visions and threats that lie waiting, only to be ignored by the community that Ts’ellbah is seeking to protect holds its own bitter taste. Olsen weaves a sense of mounting doom throughout Falling Through the Stars that palpably grows with each new seizure and false alarm. Along the way Ts’ellbah finds acceptance and love, despite the bizarre situations she continually finds herself in. Ample breadcrumbs lead up to a key plot twist that instantly pieces it all together, with a much-needed heartwarming conclusion.
Overall, family and duty are strong themes throughout Falling Through Stars, as Ts’ellbah feels a proportional drive to protect and provide, regardless of the sacrifice she has to endure in the process.