Ellie Mae has been waiting five years for her dad to talk about why her mom left them all the time, the details of her work, and especially how she died. Finally, for her eighteenth birthday, he promises to reveal everything. But on the anniversary of her mom’s death, the Bigfoot reappear and Ellie Mae’s dad bales on her.
A greedy hunter tells Ellie Mae her mom wasn’t as crazy as the towns people said. He intends to use Ellie Mae in hopes of finding the Bigfoot location so he can sell it. Ellie Mae has no intention of helping him. She’s on a different mission—to prove the Bigfoot are real so she can redeem her mom’s character.
Eighteen-year-old Jake Harris is a newcomer to Hush Briar, but he’s known about Ellie his whole life. Their family histories are rooted in a deep secret that’s kept him away. He needs to know the truth in order to heal his family, but the truth just might tear Ellie Mae’s family apart. Jake helps Ellie Mae track the Bigfoot and they grow close. When she wants to expose the creatures, Jake opposes. Ellie Mae feels betrayed, until an old cop friend helps her understand that her mom didn’t need to be right as long as those she loved believed in her.
To honor her mom, Ellie Mae shifts her goal from redeeming her mom’s character to protecting the Bigfoot, but she continues to demand the truth from her dad. When the hunter and his henchmen run Jake and Ellie off the road and kidnap Ellie, her dad opens up. Jake’s family arrives to be with him in the hospital. Not only does the past blow wide open, but Jake plans to leave Hush Briar and return home with his family.
On Ellie Mae’s final push to save the Bigfoot before the hunters find them, she learns an unbelievable truth that explains everything—even more than what her dad knew. And even though his family is crumbling apart, Jake decides to stay in Hush Briar because it’s where life makes more sense.
Plot/Idea: Mart integrates Native American lore as a backstory to develop a twisty and intriguing story of a teen's search for Bigfoot. In addition to encounters with the beasts, Mart meaningfully explores the complexity of family dynamics and examines how uncovered truths can help mend relationships.
Prose: Mart capably mixes lore, mystery, and romance with ease. Each chapter draws the reader closer to the truth and concludes on a wholly satisfying note.
Originality: A mix of Native American lore, Bigfoot, and mystery will surely engage inquisitive young adult readers. Readers will find themselves researching included topics to learn more.
Character/Execution: Likable and curious characters take the reader on an adventure full of mystery and hidden truths. Relationships between the characters are relatable. The main character is astute, and readers will cheer for her to be successful in her quest.
Blurb: Mart's multilayered Bigfoot story reminds readers of the power for truth to mend broken relationships.
Date Submitted: August 01, 2023