First Fiction Fridays: Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette
Lightfinder (Kegedonce Press, 2014)
Known for his public murals, gallery paintings and education work, with Lightfinder Aaron Paquette adds author to his list of accomplishments. Aaron is First Nations/Métis, and he lives in Edmonton with his wife and children. He hopes to share what a gift every day can be. Connect with Aaron on Facebook.
Why you need to read this now:
Lightfinder is the power-packed novel in a planned series that follows the stories of teenaged Cree siblings, Aisling and Eric, who are unwittingly thrust into a millennia-old struggle for life’s future on earth.
The novel deals with growing up, love and loss, and the choices life puts in our path from both Aisling's and Eric's perspectives. The story is rooted in the present day, but also explores fantastical parallel worlds. Respecting the Earth is a thread that runs through the novel, but the theme is infused into the story rather than being written in an overtly “moral” way.
While reading Lightfinder, the reader is surrounded by Canadian imagery, including Alberta scenery and landmarks, like The Banff Centre. Real-world challenges faced by youth today, especially indigenous youth, have been acknowledged and embraced. Although the protagonists identify as Cree, Paquette sought to write a great fantasy novel first and foremost, where the main characters happen to be indigenous, rather than writing a novel about "being native."
Paquette’s beautiful illustrations are peppered through the novel and chapters switch in narration between Aisling and Eric, adding to the fast pace of the story. Paquette’s writing weaves contemporary realities into a fantasy story, allowing readers to imagine how they, too, can aspire to embrace their greatness.
Edmonton-based artist and blogger John Richardson writes: “Aisling is a girl just like any number you will see each day on Edmonton’s LRT, at school in Maskwacîs, or visiting with her Kokum in Standoff, or Sucker Creek, or Cold Lake or an apartment in Saskatoon. She has no lightning bolt scar. She’s not an only-child orphan of mysterious parents. What is remarkable about her is what is remarkable about any teenage girl: she intends to change her world.”
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Thank you to Kegedonce Press, especially Allison, for sharing this young adult novel with us. Keep your teens reading this summer with more Books for Teens.
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