Exciting New Releases! · May 2014 Book Reviews

Book Review: Totem


Author: Jennifer Maruno
Pages: 136
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Sci/Fi (Time Travel)
Published: (Expected August 12, 2014)
Rating: 4/5

I enjoyed this book. It was a short but entertaining read on a subject that I really haven’t read much about before.

Jonny is an orphaned child living at the Redemption Residential School. He realized very quickly that he was different from the other children there as he was the only white child while the rest were Native students of the islands.

The Catholic school is very strict and each boy is given a job to do. Jonny has some upsetting encounters with Father Gregory who continually makes inappropriate advances. One day a Native boy named Ernie is brought to the school and Jonny befriends him right away. Ernie’s father was arrested and his family is known for being disruptive.

Ernie tells Jonny about a cave that they could escape to until his father is released from jail in six months. Father Gregory takes Jonny and Ernie with him to bring chickens back to the school to add to the new chicken house and Jonny and Ernie plan their getaway accordingly.

They reach the cave right before a giant thunderstorm hits and are then transported back in time to a native village. Jonny is trained on totem pole carving and becomes very close with the chief of the village.

There are some more big plot points but I don’t want to give everything away. I really struggled to get into this book at the beginning. The scenes with Father Gregory were uncomfortable and honestly made me not want to continue reading it. However, aside from that part of the story line, I really enjoyed reading about Jonny and how his character progressed in this short historical fiction book.


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