I picked up this book by chance. I'm glad I did.
Gives Light is a tale in which the setting breathes life into the story. Set in the Shoshone Nettlebush, reservation, the story provides insight into the life of Skylar, a sixteen year old buy who was rendered mute as a young child by his mothers killer, a serial murderer. Skylar has spent the last twelve years living off the reservation with his father, a silent and immutable man.
When Skylar's father disappears mysteriously, Skylar is taken into his grandmothers home on the reservation. As he eases into a new life with family he doesn't know and a culture he is unfamiliar with, Skylar begins making new friends amongst the Shoshone teens. Perhaps most notably, Skylar befriends Rafael, the son of the man who killed his mother. Both are outsiders in their own way -Skylar, as a mute boy who is new to the reservation, and Rafael, a moody and sensitive teen largely rejected by his community for his fathers sins. Things become more troubled after Skylar's father returns and is sought by the authorities for enforcing tribal law.
Skylar comes to love the reservation and its people, learning about the history of its people and its sense of community. As he builds new relationships, he also finds a home. Rose Christo effortlessly weaves together pieces of Native American history, Shoshone culture, and everyday life to create a story that is alternatively heartwarming and melancholy, romantic and lonely, understated and unassuming. And while threads of romance run throughout, the true theme of the story is the Shoshone people and lifestyle.
Overall, Gives light is a beautiful story about a mute teen as he builds solid and loving relationships with his family and peers. The bond between him and Rafael is strong and sweet - the kind that lasts a lifetime. And if the author I has the underlying purpose to educate others on trials faced, historically and okay, of Native Americans, it is well done and subtle. The writing is exceptional, lyrical, and so effectively places the reader within the story, it's haunting.