Aggie Ksisak longs to be a normal teenager, but her coming of age includes a legacy as the most powerful Inupiat Eskimo shaman in history.
Aggie embraces her heritage until a powerful demon spirit invades her dreams, threatening to destroy her and everyone she loves. Despite her overwhelming fear, she soon realizes she cannot reject her calling. Then her family falters, a close friend turns on her, and the demon reappears. She staggers, but recovers until soon after her sixteenth birthday when something unspeakable shatters her world.
Filled with self-loathing and poised on the brink of death, the young shaman must dig deep to embrace her powerful birthright and reclaim her magic. But, even if she succeeds, will it be enough to save her?
A Note From the Publisher
Maxy Awards Gold Seal Winner - Best Children's / Young Adult
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 35 members
When I started reading The Whispering of Trees I was expecting simply another fantasy YA/Children book. What I actually read was an atmospheric tale of passage from childhood to womanhood. The shaman element add to the story a picturesque imaginary and spiritual meaning. The writing is clear, smooth and delicate and I was very surprised by the softness with which some dramatic/strong themes were handled. “The whispering of trees” is a suggestive tale of coming of age and an overall enjoyable story.
The Whispering of Trees by C.Y. Bourgeois Black Rose Writing Children’s Fiction, Teens & YA Pub Date 07 Apr 2016 I was given a copy of The Whispering of Trees through the publisher and their partnership with Netgalley in exchange for my honest review which is as follows: At first Aggie embraces the Inupiat Eskimo ways until a powerful demon invades her dreams, scaring her away from the very ways she embraced. When a friend betrays her the demon reappears. When her Friend Kevin hangs himself his sister blames Aggie for not helping him. Aggie feels like a failure as a Shaman when she can’t make her Father Stop drinking, her Mother stop feeling all the Burden or even stop her Uncle from raping her. Shortly after her Uncle rapes her Aggie finds out she’s pregnant. For awhile she hide s the secret from everyone but one friend soon though she has to tell her parents too, and at first her Father does not want to believe her. Will Aggie be able to move past what her Uncle did to her or will she continue to feel anger, hate, pain and shunned by those who were once her friends. I recommend Thr Whispering of Trees to those fourteen over due to Subject matter and strong language. Five out of five stars Happy reading..
When I started reading The Whispering of Trees I was expecting simply another fantasy YA/Children book. What I actually read was an atmospheric tale of passage from childhood to womanhood. The shaman element add to the story a picturesque imaginary and spiritual meaning. The writing is clear, smooth and delicate and I was very surprised by the softness with which some dramatic/strong themes were handled. “The whispering of trees” is a suggestive tale of coming of age and an overall enjoyable story
I wanted to like this book. The concept really grabbed me, and I loved the cover art. As I began reading, though, I felt that there were more editing issues than I'm used to. I had a hard time staying "in" the book with these issues. I was not able to dig into the meat of the story, and this could be as much my fault as it is anyone else's. Ultimately, this was one of my rare DNF books. I typically do not publicly review books that I rate lower than a three, as I think sometimes I am just not the right audience, and I do not believe in hurting a book's chances subjectively. There is likely a reader who needs this book, and I don't want to turn anyone away from it.
I misjudged this book based on the cover and synopsis and thought it’d be more of a fantasy when it had a whale as minor character. The book’s focus was unclear and unfortunately it didn’t focus as much on the shaman aspect as I would have expected. After a certain point, it seemed as if the author was just looking for tragic boxes, some of which were predictable, to mark off and leave unfixed. It was frustrating to be introduced to so many problems to be half-solved.
This book is so well written, super descriptive and so compelling! Its one that I couldn't put down!
In THE WHISPERING OF TREES, a demon invades Aggie's dreams and changed her life forever. What intrigued me: I love creepy stories. Looking at the cover of THE WHISPERING OF TREES, you'd expect a creepy little read in the vein of Neil Gaiman. Something quirky and unsettling, but not necessarily horror. Well, what it actually is a flat out graphic and terrifying super strange read. I was pleasantly surprised to see THE WHISPERING OF TREES go down an extremely dark route and present scenes that you genuinely won't want to read with the lights off. This is the kind of stuff I love, creepy stories that make you want to wish you hadn't stayed up reading this late. Nightmare-inducing stuff. While I love that aspect, I feel like THE WHISPERING OF TREES misses the mark quite a few times concept-wise. What audience is this novel written for? It seems to be marketed towards a lower YA/MG audience, similar to THE CUCKOO'S SONG in concept. But then it's more of a coming-of-age story, it's not really a Middle Grade read because it doesn't just tell the story of a little girl. And it certainly doesn't cover topics suitable for young kids. Where THE CUCKOO'S SONG just plays with ideas, THE WHISPERING OF TREES doesn't shy away from tapping into the darkest of places. This certainly isn't a book I'd advise young readers to pick up, this certainly isn't a book that I'd read with the lights off at night. Overall: Do I Recommend? I fairly enjoyed THE WHISPERING OF TREES but struggled a little with the pacing. I love the idea of it all, the way shaman magic is incorporated, but I did find it all too dragged out.
** Firstly, I want to thank Netgalley and the publishers for sending me this book and letting me review it! This story was very unique and had a nice balance of fun and serious subjects. The story follows Aggie who is a shaman. The story shows her development into a shaman and her journey into womanhood. Aggie goes through a lot of traumatic events within this story and it shows how strong she is in this book. This was a good book but it didn't necessarily grip me and have me on the edge of my seat. Nevertheless, it dealt with many untouched subjects in fiction and I appreciated it's honesty and realism on these points. This story had a range of character perspective. It wasn't solely focused on Aggie and many other smaller characters had the chance to shine as well. Would I recommend it? Well, give it a try and see. SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD- SPOILERS AHEAD Okay. So. This book was interesting but it didn't completely grab me and give me all the feels like I usually crave in a book. There were a few minor issues that had me falling out of the book and the plot. While this book was very descriptive, I found some parts very hard to picture. My go-to example would be SeeSee the whale. I don't know why but I just couldn't wrap my head around a talking whale! In a way, it could be seen as interesting but, personally, it distanced me from the story as I was just as confused as heck. I pictured SeeSee differently in every scene she appeared in and I can't even remember how I pictured the dark whale...I sort of just skipped over the details in my mind. When reading the description for this book, I was expecting a kick-ass fantasy with cool and unique elements. Instead, I received a basic and unexplained 'shaman' world that we didn't really delve into too much. We don't know where they originated, how you get chose to be one or whether they exist only in this culture. I was a bit disappointed but like I said in the non-spoiler section, there were many aspects that I appreciated due to it's honesty and vulnerability. The more 'serious' subjects of the book were handled beautifully and I think that books with these plots are necessary in this society because it gives us an insight into what many people are going through. Aggie went through incredible character growth throughout this and I preferred her much more when she had matured a bit. She grew into herself nicely and the difference between her younger and older self was a nice and realistic contrast. My favourite character though, had to be Jackie. It was cute that, right from the beginning, it was obvious that they would end up together and I thought Jackie was so cute. He was by Aggie's side from the very beginning and he didn't shy away from anything. And one other thing... I've never read a book with so many jinxes in! They were forever owing each other cokes and it brought a smile to my face every time it happened. I honestly thought that the book was going to end with Jackie saying jinx- I think it would've been cute. Overall, it was an interesting book and it had a nice amount of quirks to it.
This book was well written and interesting from the viewpoint that it's an under published culture and location. For those reasons I enjoyed it. I found some of the subject matter to be more adult than what I would allow for my teen daughter or recommend in good conscience for teens under 16. I think perhaps it does a service in touching on some very important topics however I was concerned that the parents were so far removed and seemed to be secondary decision makers. I'd prefer fiction to show how adults and parents can empower young adults if they have to navigate tragedy instead of the teens making adult choices alone.
This book was not my cup of tea and it tried to cover too many issues within the book too. It was well written but at times the plot lost me.
The Whispering of Trees is one of those books that you won’t be able to put down. I found myself drawn into this story and hours passed before I looked up from the book. The story follows Aggie, a 15-year-old Inupiat girl in Barrow, Alaska. She is training to be a shaman and has a very interesting life. She communicates with the spirit world in the form of a whale she calls SeeSee, The Sister Whale. Mr. Joseph Billy is her mentor and the village’s current shaman. In other respects, she is just a normal teenager, hanging out with her friends and doing normal teen activities. At first, she is quite reluctant to become a shaman, but things change and she finally does embrace her destiny. The story addresses many issues that face Native communities today – including alcoholism, unemployment, abuse, rape, mental illness, drug use, suicide, and violence. Aggie begins as a carefree teen and matures throughout the story, making some very adult decisions and choices along the way. Aggie gathers two companions who help her in her spiritual journey, a cat named Coco, and a tree she names Willy. She has very strong ties to both and they are able to communicate in a unique way. Aggie also has her best friend, Jackie, who tags along with her almost everywhere. Jackie is her most loyal friend and confidante. Her other close friend is Lella, who becomes a very important part of her life in the last parts of the story. Her family endures the loss of her father’s job and her father’s descent into depression, and then her uncle shows up on the scene. His arrival brings many changes and Aggie’s life will never be the same. She endures many challenges after that and learns about life and love as she matures. The physical and spiritual battles that Aggie goes through, and what she learns from her guides - the whale, Mr. Billy, Coco, and Willy, help her to become a more powerful shaman, as well as a stronger person. She is forced to make an agonizing decision, but it has far-reaching effects on many aspects of her life and that of her family. I thought the characters were well-developed and that they each went through changes over the course of the novel. Aggie is the main character, but we also see her friend Jackie mature as well. The pacing of the story was steady and seemed right to me - not too fast and not too slow. The characters were believable and background was given so the reader understood each one’s role. The setting is described very well and I got the feeling of what life might be like on the tundra, a land with no trees. A sense of suspense was built and maintained throughout the later part of the book, with the reader agonizing over her decision right along with Aggie. The spiritual battle also contributed to the tension and draws the reader into the story even further in anticipation of the outcome. At times, the story brought me to tears. Other times, I was laughing out loud. My sense of wonder was piqued by the main character’s shamanic abilities and how she communicated with all her guides. This is a very emotional story, but also a hopeful, uplifting one. We see that it is possible to move on from even the worst criminal acts and have a life full of love and hope for the future. The reader sees how people can heal from even the worst circumstances and carry on successfully. This is a novel that I would recommend to young adult as well as adult readers for this reason.
Aggie is an Inupiat Eskimo shaman and a teenager. She is mentored by Mr. Billy, the current shaman who does his best to have her understand that it is her destiny. Her friends know that she is a shaman and it doesn't cause her problems with her friends except for one. When that friend betrays her, she can't believe it. Will they ever be friends again? Her father has lost his job and becomes depressed. It doesn't help when his brother shows up and spends every evening with her dad drinking beer. She is upset with her parents and doesn't feel comfortable with her father's brother. Will things ever change for her? The writing is excellent.. The descriptions of the novel made it come alive for me. The characters are interesting. This novel has several themes running through it such as coming of age. There are some very difficult themes that would be good if parents and teenagers read the book and discuss the issues. I also want to say it was interesting to see how Aggie deals with being a shaman. This book is a must read!
I think this may be a little dark to be categorized as children's fiction. It's very honest and graphic in its telling of sexual abuse, alcoholism, violence and death.
The whispering of trees by c y Bourgeois is a teens and ya and children's fiction read. Aggie Ksisak longs to be a normal teenager, but her coming of age includes a legacy as the most powerful Inupiat Eskimo shaman in history. Aggie embraces her heritage until a powerful demon spirit invades her dreams, threatening to destroy her and everyone she loves. Despite her overwhelming fear, she soon realizes she cannot reject her calling. Then her family falters, a close friend turns on her, and the demon reappears. She staggers, but recovers until soon after her sixteenth birthday when something unspeakable shatters her world. Filled with self-loathing and poised on the brink of death, the young shaman must dig deep to embrace her powerful birthright and reclaim her magic. But, even if she succeeds, will it be enough to save her? This was a beautiful and moving read. I loved Aggie. She was my favourite character. So strong. Had me in tears. 5*. Highly recommended. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book from netgalley.
What a hauntingly beautiful novel. The scenes gave me shivers and kept me wanting more. I really liked this book as it is such an entirely different story from what I expected.
This is a very emotional story, but also a hopeful, uplifting one. We see that it is possible to move on from even the worst criminal acts and have a life full of love and hope for the future.
Trigger Warning: Cancer Mention, Alcoholic Parent, Paedophile (Aggie's uncle is a paedophile), Rape, Teen Pregnancy (caused by Rape), Teen Pregnancy, Attempted Suicide, Suicide Mention, Newborn Death. When I first heard of and read about The Whispering of Trees, I thought that Aggie's story would be darker than normal, but still an adventure. How wrong I was. The Whispering of Trees is a novel that I thought I had predicted down to a 'T'. However, just reading the first 20% of this book made me realize that Aggie's story is going to go in a severely different way than I had imagined. There was only one thing that was unfortunately predictable. We see Aggie's story take place over 4 years, which results in the pace of the story being fast. And let me tell you, it was not an easy four years for our main character, Aggie. She goes through something that no human being should ever go through. And then the aftermath of everything...Aggie is unbelievably courageous. Through Aggie's eyes we see the choices she makes, and the many, many trials that Aggie goes through. Though Aggie's story was difficult to read and see her live through... Along the way we see Aggie and her friends become her support group. We see the people who truly love and care for Aggie shine and be there for her. There's so much light and goodness in this novel, even though there's a war against darkness going on as well. I did not enjoy the darkest part of this novel, but the lighter, happier parts of Aggie's story were definitely preferable to read. I give The Whispering of Trees, 3.5 stars.