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The Revenant

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  702 ratings  ·  146 reviews
When Willie arrives in Indian Territory, she knows only one thing: no one can find out who she really is. To escape a home she doesn't belong in anymore, she assumes the name of a former classmate and accepts a teaching job at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

Nothing prepares her for what she finds there. Her pupils are the daughters of the Cherokee elite—educated and more wea
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Karyn Silverman
Eh. There were two stories here-- three if you count the inevitable romance as its own arc-- and I think either tale might have worked, but together they made the pacing all kinds of uneven and played off each other badly. The outer story (Willie doesn't want to go home to the farm, misses her dead papa whom she worshipped, steals a classmate's teaching certificate and accepts a job in Indian Territory) is where the magic never happened, mostly because Willie is a spoiled bitch. BUT-- the charac ...more
I have never reviewed a book written by a friend and colleague before. I taught with Sonia, and felt like I identified most deeply to Willie's struggles as a teacher. Those self-doubts will resonate with every teacher! But this book is so much more than a book about a teacher.

Willie comes alive from the first page when we discover she's a liar...she has run away from her family who wants her to leave school. She's swiped another girl's teaching certificate and has run away to the C
Beth Chandler
A good historical novel about a non-standard place: a Midwestern Cherokee girls' school. Moderately suspenseful Gothic ghost story with a bit of romance. Major characters had at least a bit of three-dimensionality to them that kept them from being entirely stock characters. The plot was somewhat predictable but did have some twists.

One thing I liked about the story was the fascinating and respectful insight into the nature and social structure of middle-class (and to a lesser extent, poor) Nativ
Book 17 for 2011.
There are so many things I loved about this book!

I loved the setting of the girls' boarding school in Indian country.
I loved the feel of the novel as it was so Libba Bray in the language.
I loved the romance as it gave just enough to keep me wanting more.
And most of all, I loved that the main character had a who subplot of her own that made her so much deeper of a character. The novel could have been an exceptional ghost story with a murder mystery twist. But instead, it was an
Katie Stout
4 1/2 stars

This book is everything I wanted Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine to be: a well-developed historical with fantasy elements, an intriguing mystery, and inspiring characters.

But the best part of this book was the incredibly unique setting. I have never read a YA book that dealt directly with Native American culture, and this one managed to portray it with historical accuracy and without any stereotyping or judgment. There were so many instances where Gensler could have reverted to coll
Interesting premises on this book: girl murdered by drowning haunts Cherokee National Female Seminary in the mid-19th century.

Wilhelmina Hammond is summoned home from school to help tend the family farm. Resentful of the summons, "Willie" assumes a classmates identity and takes off for Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to be a teacher at the Cherokee National Female Seminary. She immediately begins to have problems with a trio of cousins who are too big for their britches. On top of dealing with diffi
 Tina (Fantastic Book Review)
Based on Indian Territory during the late 1800's, THE REVENANT brings mystery and ghostly suspense to the forefront. The setting is unique but has the familiar school setting of clique's and local gossip. The strange incidents shrouded in mystery kept me turning the pages to see what dark secrets would be uncovered behind the walls of the Seminary.

Willie, although brash and full of misconceptions at times, is finding out all about the Cherokee culture first hand. Their belief in spirits or ghost
This book was ok. I wanted to read this book for the plot. I love any type of hauntings or mysterious and it got even better when I found out there was people who'd been murdered. I think in general that if there's some type of tragic murder as a backstory it makes things more interesting. This book wasn't at all scary. It was more on the creepy side. There were several instances where I went 'oh sh**!', but nothing that kept me up at night. I liked how the clues unfolded and the scenes about di ...more
Princess Bookie
My Thoughts: We are introduced to Willie who doesn't want to return home. She doesn't want to go back to her families home. It took her a while to get out, and she despises going back. She wants to lead her own life. She ends up taking a teaching job on Indian Territory.

The catch, it isn't really "her" job and she's living in a dead girl's room who is said to haunt the place. Of course to Willie, it is gibberish and ghosts don't exist. Until she starts to witness events that are a little too "co
Christy Dorrity
Twists and turns in The Revenant kept me reading until 1 am one night. I had no idea what would happen next and I loved every minute of it. The Revenant is a haunting ghost story with historical fiction and a good dose of hopeless romance thrown in.

Food to eat while reading: Sevenstar Gingerbread (

Much of the book resonated with Anne of Avonlea and since I am a huge fan of Anne, I felt very much at home between the pages of the book.

Paranormal elements blended naturally
Liza Wiemer
The Revenant is a fascinating, beautifully written historical YA novel with crossover appeal to those who enjoy paranormal and romance. Set in 1896-1897, seventeen-year-old Willie sets out for Indian Territory to teach at the Cherokee Female Seminary. Willie is a bold and self-sufficient character who wants to write her own destiny. She struggles with propriety and family issues while doing her best to forge out a new identity that gives her independence. Entering the Cherokee Female Seminary as ...more
I should start this review by saying that I know the author. And while I was intrigued by the synopsis, I had never read anything she'd written. I was hoping it would be a pleasant enough read to be able to find some nice things to say about it.

How delightful to be able to say, with all honesty, that I was completely sucked in and mesmerized by this book!

The book's writing style starts out as an intriguing merging of the styles of Jane Austen and Lucy Maude Montgomery. It does a good job of bein
I finished reading Sonia Gensler’s THE REVENANT last night and closed it with a sigh. You know the feeling of finishing a book that’s just so good you worry that you won’t find another one you love as much for a long time? It’s one of those books, and while I couldn’t put it down to make it last longer, I was so sad to be finished.

THE REVENANT is a delicious blend of historical fiction, mystery, and ghost story set at a Cherokee boarding school near the turn of the century. When 17-year-old Will
jo mo

a creature made up entirely by lies

low star rating because of the following aspects:

• tactless & a bit dumb as well as racist heroine
• easy to guess mystery
• boring romance (dreaded instalove trope)(view spoiler)
• forbidden teacher-student relationship (sorry but: zzzzZ)

interesting stuff:
Annie McElfresh
This was a breath of fresh air as far as settings go. A lot of this novel is based on factual events (not the ghost story part, although there are still rummors about it to this day at the school) which makes the setting very real for me. Ms. Gensler has done a wonderful job using slang and terminology used back in the late 1800's which also stays true to the story.

Read this one if you like historical romances and YA fiction!

More YA Reviews:
Reading, Writing and Waiting
I liked the idea, I liked the writing, but I thought the main character Willie (Willemina) wasn't likeable - and she never really got better. The love story was ridiculous; no one just decides they're in love and should get married by merely a look or two. Well, they shouldn't. And the ending, well, let's just say if you're going to try and have the main character grow up, it shouldn't be done in 2 small chapters. At least, in this case.
Eh - I'm waffling between 2 and 3 stars. It gets 3 for the
The thing that I enjoyed most about the Revenant was not the supernatural/mystery aspect of it, nor the (rather boring and obvious) romance. It was the character of Willie. First, I loved the comparison she makes when she returns home about how she is like a revenant (it’s a double-meaning title! Or, at least, a double-referencing title). In fact, the last third of the book is called “The Revenant” even though, plot-wise, the revenant part has already finished.

Second, I liked the revelations mad
Ian Wood
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-
A historical AND a ghost story? Both things are totally up my alley. THE REVENANT is a refreshing change from the spate of paranormal romances gagging up the YA section these days, but it's not without its swoony bits either. Hello, Eli Sevenstar.

Gensler is a wonderful writer and ably captures the slang, cadences, and speech of the late 1890s Indian Territory, complete with internalized racism and class issues. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Totally recommended.
I liked this book, surprisingly. I'm not usually one for American Victorianism and don't usually pick up books set in America during that period, let alone in the American West. But after reading A Race to Splendor recently, I realized my prejudice for turn of the century American stories was perhaps a little unfair. This book piqued my interest because of the the Indian Territory setting, which is also unusual for me, but, recently I've become a bit more interested in my heritage. I'm glad I fi ...more
Jen Minkman
What a great, great book. Atmospheric, well-researched, romantic, and a bit creepy. I mean, if Native Americans, haunted boarding schools and forbidden romances between a young teacher and a Cherokee guy from the nearby boys' seminary are thrown into one book, it really can't go wrong with me :)
Hennessey Library
Not just a young adult book, The Revenant by Sonia Gensler is a tightly crafted mystery with just the right hint to help the reader unravel the dark events that have happened at the Female Seminary in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The young heroine has told her lies and assumed an identity that is not her own, but this is not a tale of close calls for the imposter, it is a mystery with Gothic-Oklahoma overtones that plays itself out in the lives of well-defined characters. Not all is at it seems on any ...more
May 07, 2011 Jenny marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Very intriguing ghost story told in beautiful language. Also, I liked the originality of the premise and the setting and now want to know more about the education of Cherokee women. Great read.
Kim Baccellia
Great historical ghost tale set in the Old West.

My YA Books Central review:
Really cool, original idea--I wasn't totally impressed by the presentation but still a solid read and an excellent escape for the afternoon.

Full review later :)
Jessica McCann
A well-written, engaging young-adult historical novel. Native American history, ghosts, mystery, 1890s teen angst -- this is an entertaining read.
It's set in Talequah, Oklahoma and written by a former high school English teacher. Highly recommended.
Gensler has written an effective historical fiction, fantasy(Gothic) thriller in The Revenant. I appreciate the research she put to use to create this story. I enjoyed the character development she created to move the plot along.

Set in the late 1800's this story about Cherokee society in NE Oklahoma this story is compelling if not fast-paced. Willamina (Willie) Hammond can't stand the idea of leaving college to return to the family farm and help her pregnant mother. So, she concocts an elaborate
Katie Spina
Like Divergent, this book promised one thing and delivered something else entirely.

The Revenant presents itself to potential readers as a ghost story that takes place in a fascinating world of the Cherokee in the 1800s. Instead, it is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl that happens to deal with a ghost and has a predictable happy ending.

I'm disappointed that this was marketed as a ghost story. Ghost stories are a wonderful character development tool because human nature remains the same
I wish we could give half stars because this is a solid 3.5 and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and Gothic novels.

There were a lot of things about this book that I loved: The setting. The characters. The initial deception on the part of the narrator. I very much enjoy Gothic novels and I was looking forward to reading this one, set in a Cherokee girls' boarding school in the late 1890s. The characters were believable and well-rounded, as were the many layers of conflicts
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I am a former high school teacher turned full-time writer living in Oklahoma with my husband and my cat.

My debut novel, THE REVENANT (Knopf 2011), is a ghostly mystery set at a Cherokee girls' school. My latest book, THE DARK BETWEEN (Knopf, August 2013) is a Gothic murder mystery set in Cambridge, England.

PLEASE NOTE: I'm not assigning stars to book reviews anymore. I'm really not writing revie
More about Sonia Gensler...
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