Race to the Sun

Nizhoni Begay is a young Navajo girl. Her mom left their family when she was just a toddler, leaving Nizhoni, her dad, and her younger brother Mac on their own. Though she has aspirations to become famous and make something of herself, Nizhoni considers herself to be a pretty standard kid—until she begins to see monsters, that is. Things become more dire when Nizhoni sees her dad's new boss for what he truly is—a monster. When her dad disappears suddenly, she, her best friend Davery, and brother Mac must make a run for it. Through their journey to recover their father, Nizhoni and Mac discover their true identity as Monster Slayers.

This middle grade fantasy novel centers on the Navajo legends of the Hero Twins, bringing in legendary cultural characters such as Spider Woman and Rock Crystal Boy. It's a much needed representation of Navajo and first nation stories and culture; however, adapting the cultural information into a fantasy narrative presents a large creative license taken by the author. Ultimately, it finds its value as a spin off variant of some of the traditional legends, not necessarily a firm example of the true legends. The fast pace, adventure, humor, and snark are sure to please fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series or Robert Beatty's Serafina series. Appropriate for ages 8-12.

Reviewed by Ginny H.