Hunting By Stars
Hunting By Stars, written by Métis author Cherie Dimaline is a stunning display of force. The main character, Frenchie, who survived all the harrowing adventures in the very well received The Marrow Thieves (2017), is back. Not only did The Marrow Thieves receive the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award (Young People’s Literature – Print), the Kirkus Prize, the Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature to name a few awards, it was also banned. Fortunately for all of us excited to read more about this world, the fans convinced author Cherie Dimaline to write a sequel.
The world for both books is dark. “Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. Without dreams, people are haunted, sick, mad, unable to rebuild. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up—or are re-opened—across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams.” French, aka Frenchie, aka Frances, spent three years traveling across Canada. Having lost his family, he found a new one, and at the end of The Marrow Thieves there was hope of a happy ending for Frenchie and his fellow travelers.
Hunting By Stars begins with Frenchie, now seventeen-years-old, captured. He is now in a futuristic Residential School, where the dark goal is still “to kill the Indian to save the man.” This medical facility keeps him in complete darkness for several days. He is starved and they use sound torture on him as well. Frenchie is ardently trying to stay sane, keep the marrow in his bones and stay alive. He is faced again and again with the ultimate decision of what price is too high for his freedom. If he could send a message out to the family, he would tell them not to risk their freedom helping him.
And yet, his friends and new family are trying to find out what has happened to him. He just disappeared. Rose, one of his best friends, unwilling to wait for more intelligence, rushes off looking for him, risking her own life knowing he would do the same for her.
This book is a wonderful reunion with the characters from The Marrow Thieves with skilled world crafting. It would be easier to enjoy after reading The Marrow Thieves. The feeling that Hunting By Stars instills is, this could indeed be our near future, and it oozes out of the pages. Dark, poetic, beautiful scenery, with horrific visualizations of what the future may have in store for us. This is a roller coaster of events, with chapters shifting between Frenchie, Rose, and the others of the family. It is almost impossible to put down.
Written by Cherie Dimaline
2021, ABRAMS/Amulet Books
Reviews: Kirkus; YA Books Central
Awards: American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award Young Adult Honor Book
Inti A Dewey (he/him) is the Tween Librarian at East Library for Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) in Colorado Springs. Inti holds a MLIS from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and a B.A. in German from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Inti has had an adventure-filled life, living in the US, Europe, Canada, and South America, as well as being able to say he ran away and joined the circus. He has also been working for PPLD as a librarian for the past two years.
JULIA E. TORRES is a nationally recognized veteran language arts teacher, librarian, and teen programs administrator in Denver, Colorado. Julia facilitates teacher development workshops rooted in the areas of anti-racist education, equity and access in literacy and librarianship, and education as a practice of liberation. Julia’s work has been featured on NPR, AlJazeera’s The Stream, PBS Education, KQED’s MindShift, Rethinking Schools, Learning for Justice Magazine, School Library Journal, American Libraries Magazine, and many more. She is a Book Love Foundation board member, Educolor Working Group member, a Book Ambassador for The Educator Collaborative, and a co-founder of #DisruptTexts. Her co-authored title Liven Up Your Library: Design Engaging and Inclusive Programs for Teens and Tweens is just the first of many forthcoming publications for librarians and educators. Learn more about Julia on her website juliaetorres.com or on social media @juliaerin80