We're honored to have Lyn here as part of the rgz SALON, a feature where top kidlit experts clue us in to the best YA novels they've read recently. Today, she reviews This Thing Called the Future by J.L. Powers (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011).
"Powers seamlessly combines contemporary realism with the supernatural in this powerful and singular novel for readers in middle school through adult. The story is grounded in Zulu beliefs, legends, and folk traditions, giving Khosi’s dreams and the interventions of her ancestors a level of believability that most contemporary realistic novels with a fantasy component lack. Furthermore, the dreams are relevant to the story events, and all of the scenes, whether realistic or supernatural or morphing from one into the other, tie into the central theme of how respect for ancestors can guide a young person toward the future. While maintaining her central theme as the focus throughout, Powers builds tension and interest by raising the stakes through the three pursuers of Khosi—the witch, the drunk, and the vengeful neighbor—her mother’s physical decline, and the life-threatening purging ceremony that Khosi and her Gogo endure in hopes of saving Khosi’s mother." -Lyn Miller-Lachmann