Atheneum Books for Young People ($9.99)
A member of the Metís nation, Catherine Knutsson lyrically weaves native lore and a tense, fascinating tale in her debut novel, Shadows Cast by Stars. Knutsson’s protagonist Cassandra can see “shades,” people’s totem animals, though she’s uncertain what her own totem is. Her gifts come from the Old Way of the aboriginal peoples, and they are crucial in helping her people survive the dark times. The book is set two hundred years in the future when a terrible Plague afflicts the population, and only the aboriginal peoples are immune. As such, the antibodies in their blood are in high demand. What follows is a struggle to survive, to fit in, to accept her own powers, to find love, and to save her people from dark physical and spiritual forces. While Cass learns that “everything has a dark side” there is redemption in love, sacrifice, and replacing the old myths with your own.