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ARIVACA: Guardians of the Light

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Jesse Ballard’s life is filled with misfortune. His parents are dead, he’s been convicted of a crime, and a dark secret torments his soul. But when he’s incarcerated on a ranch for troubled teens he discovers his troubles have just begun. A Supreme Power has literally hijacked his life, bringing him to the ranch to make him the guardian of a powerful relic that was hidden ...more
Paperback, 334 pages
Published December 13th 2014 by Folded Corners
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John Poulsen Yes it does, but the relationship between the protagonist and the girl is not very nice at first. They are butting heads for the first half of the boo…moreYes it does, but the relationship between the protagonist and the girl is not very nice at first. They are butting heads for the first half of the book. (less)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  115 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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May 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
*Thank you to AuthorBuzz via NetGalley for providing me a digital ARC of this novel for review*

*2.5/5 rating*

I love going into books blind -- it means I have zero expectations and tons of expectations at the same time. A strange dichotomy, but one that makes for a unique reading experience.

I went into 'Arivaca' completely blind. No recommendations, no expectations, no pre-reading hype. Total carte blanche head-first dive into the book.

And it was good. It is -- there's no denying that 'Arivaca' i
Emmeline (The Book Herald)
Thank you to Folded Corners publisher for giving me a copy of this book in return for an honest review

This is probably the hardest book to review that I've encountered this year.
A part of me liked it while another part disliked it.

Okay let's get to the plot:

In ancient times, during the days of kings a temple was built.
Until today, this temple is famous beyond words.
Solomon's temple.
During the invasion of Rome, sacred relics disappeared,
the famed breastplate of Aaron and the Urim and Thummin
While the book started off promising with a troubled teenage boy going away to a ranch in the hopes of helping him recover and be punished while not serving hard time in prison, it devolved into his magical powers to protect a relic, with the help of a despised character, Cedar, a ranch hand and cowgirl on the ranch.

The dynamics of the boys and their stories coupled with Jesse's seemed like a more mature story like Holes. And while I did know that there was a fantasy element, based on the title
Jan 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, rar, arc
This book was a good book, no doubt about it. It's just that I feel that it was written for the younger reader as it was extremely simplistic which for me didn't give the characters a lot of depth making it difficult for me to get attached to the characters.

The main character is Jesse; a young man who has been in trouble for most of his life until he develops superpowers and changes his life. He is thrust into a world that he didn't previously know about and he has to learn on his feet how to s
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to review and read this book. Sadly, I had to DNF it @30%. I could not get into the plot or the characters and it just sat on my shelf for a while. This book was not for me.
Cindy Batdorf
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal
ARIVACA: Guardians of the Light (Book 1)
by John Poulsen

I was so excited to be the goodreads winner of Arivaca. The description drew me in and the book didn't disappoint. To my surprise Arivaca is a real town in Arizona. I will let you read the book to find other true facts embedded in this treasure.

Arivaca is a YA fiction filled with all the aspects of a good book. Bad boys, romance, biblical artifacts, perfect amount of detail and suspense that leaves you yearning for the next book of what is
Feb 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Having ancient relics, religion, romance, sombreros, superheroes and suspense in the mix, this story combines the right ingredients to suit the varied tastes of many readers. With this adventure being set in Arizona, I could not tell for sure if it was the excellent detail of the desert landscape or thrill of the action taking place therein that made me sweat - perhaps both. My only complaint concerning John's book... is that I did not have the follow-up adventure in my other hand. Delighted to ...more
Travis Larsen
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! I received this book as a gift. It took me a while to find the time to read it, but once I started I couldn’t put it down. I love that the story takes place in Arizona! Having grown up in Arizona and having been on many Boy Scout campouts in the desert, this book hit home and came alive for me. There is so much mystery in the old artifacts found in the desert, it makes you think about all those who lived or passed through. After I was done my wife picked it up and read the whole ...more
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a page turner! I loved every second. This book keeps you interested as the the story unfolds. I never felt bored or like rushing through areas; I was devoted 100%. Every character is interesting and I found I truly care for them...well most if them ;) I recommend this book to everyone, because who doesn't like adventure mixed with mystery and a little bit of love/fate/destiny and action all rolled in together.
Melanie Thompson
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jesse Ballard, an orphan, is sent to a ranch for troubled young men. He struggles to get along with the other young men and with the ranch staff. Strange things happen to him and he finds himself at the center of an ancient battle between good and evil.

With a strong male protagonist, Arivaca will be a hit with young men and women alike. The story blends Western ranch life with ancient Christian relics and brings to life a thrilling action adventure.
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good story--imaginative and not your usual setting, but I found the writing to be a bit clunky. Also, I found the interactions between some of the characters to be a bit forced, especially Jesse and Cedar. However, the plot kept me interested and I liked that it was different. I'm not familiar with the author, but if this was a debut novel, I'm impressed and hope he continues with a sequel.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a digital copy of this.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! The imagery used by John kept me on the edge of my seat like watching a movie. I felt like I was in the action with Jesse. I couldn't put the book down. This book had my attention just like the Tennis Shoes among the Nephite series. I cant wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, wow
Wow! This debut novel does not disappoint, on any level. The characters are well developed. The plot is masterful, mixing ancient relics, magical powers, good and evil, all within a very contemporary setting on a ranch in Arizona for troubled young men! I highly recommend it and eagerly await the sequel!
John Poulsen
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I loved it...but then again I wrote it.
Jan 15, 2015 is currently reading it
Just got my Autographed copy of this First Reads Book!!!
Angel Hatfield
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Jesse three years earlier had gained the reputation of being an athletic phenomenon. Jesse was an orphan and lived with his aunt Diane and two daughters who loved Jesse Jesse found it harder that he thought it would be to watch his aunt and the girls go. . But today was the fifth anniversary of his mother’s death that Jesse blames himself for. He wanted the pain to go away. He was waiting for Dirk to get a fix. He had stolen fifteen dollars from his aa Aunt Diane. His aunt nagged him to get a jo ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pre-teens, MAYBE christian fiction fans
Obligations first: I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Arivaca starts off reminding you a bit of the book (or movie) Holes, by Louis Sachar. Kid gets caught up in a crime, kid gets punished, kid gets sent to ranch out in the middle of arizona . Jesse, the main character, is an angry kid who's parents died, and now he's looking for an escape from his life. One day he finds it, just not in the way he expected it.
Jesse finds out, while working on the ran
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Trouble always seems to find Jesse Ballard. After inadvertently assisting in a robbery while hanging with the wrong crowd, Jesse is sent to a boys’ camp in Arivaca, Arizona for troubled youth. Once there, things take a fantastical twist. Jesse learns that the speed and strength he has always taken for granted as an athlete actually mark him as the next Protector of the famed Breastplate of Judgment from Solomon’s temple, long thought lost to history. Having been anointed by the past Protector c ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I must admit - I am completely hooked on this story. Jesse is a struggling 18 year old orphan being raised by his single aunt who has children of her own. He is smoking and hanging out with bad news boys and eventually gets into trouble with the police landing himself on a ranch for troubled boys. There he meets his destiny - literally - Paco and Cedar. His trust for other people is low and it takes him some time to develop the patience required for him to form new relationships and make new fri ...more
Shannon L. Gonzalez
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Book Review:

ARIVACA: Guardians of the Light
By John Poulsen

Debut Author John Poulsen weaves a fascinating tale about an 18 year old troubled youth, Jesse, who will inherit more than he’s ever dreamed. Jesse gets into trouble, appears in court and instead of going to jail, an unknown person intercedes on his behalf. He is sent to a therapeutic boarding school for young men called the Arivaca Ranch. From the moment he arrived at the ranch, things change drastically for Jesse. While he knew he was p
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was provided an advanced reading copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lets get started. This book had an interesting premise and I was pretty excited to see where it went. Mix a little ancient history with a priceless treasure? Sign me up. While Arivaca started off well enough it just never took off for me.

Initially I didn't like the MC Jesse. He overcompensated for his insecurities in the most typically annoying male ways (hitting on the girl at the ranch and being so short tem
Charlotte Chavous
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Arivaca was an easy, gentle read for me. As a Christian, I was intrigued with Mr. Poulson's modern twist on an age old story from the Bible. As a reader of supernatural/YA, this was a book with deep thought and occasional action. That said, when I combine my two halves, I enjoyed this book with a "gentle sway" kind of feeling.
We find Jesse, a troubled, orphaned teen unable to find any real meaning in his life. He stumbles into a bad situation that ends up being a blessing in disguise. He finds h
Ali (Our Book Boyfriends) Flores
When first meeting Jesse, I felt sorry for him. I even wondered if it would be possible for him to have a big turn around in the story. But then I learned Jesse had a different side to him that didn’t quite fit with the stoner bad boy stuff. I’m not even sure that a person exists out in the real world like him, so it threw me off a little. Then couple that with the fact that the beginning of the story seemed to drag and the conversations seemed a little unnatural, and I just wasn’t feeling this ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
ARC provided by NetGalley and Folded Corners

Arivaca by John Poulsen was such an enjoyable book. It started out strong and just kept going. We watch as Jesse changes from being a young punk with no clear direction in life into an action hero for whom we can all cheer. His gradual transformation was, at times, heart-wrenching, suspenseful and heroic. Jesse was truly someone you want to win. The other characters of Paco and Cedar were also very well written and people you would like to know.

The sto
Apr 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Disclaimer: ARC copy from Netgalley.

Arivaca, by John Poulsen, is a really good book. It started out slow, with a typical story line of an angry teenager having something weird happen to him and he gets thrown on a ranch to avoid jail. Then, it gets interesting because he learns that he is supposed to be the new Protector of one of three treasures from King Solomon's Temple from the time of ancient Israel. He is supposed to be guarding the Breastplate, which has the oracle stones which allow one
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jesse has been convicted of a crime and is going to prison. A little white hair, hunched over man talks to the judge and Jesse finds himself going to a ranch for troubled boys. Jesse is resentful. When he arrives at the ranch, a small boy on a runaway horse is rescued by Jesse. Jesse sees a woman his age who is a horse whisperer. She teaches the boys about horses. The woman named Cedar doesn't care for Jesse as Jesse is overwhelmed by her. Jesse meets a man who works on the ranch named Paco. Pac ...more
Kendra Needs
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
ARIVACA was a very good read and reminded me of Indiana Jones movies combined with bible references,

The story in this book at first is very slow while you are learning the story behind Jesse and the ancient artifact, but once you hit the midway point in the book the action and story picks up and is very fast paced and before you know it you are at the end of the book. The characters in this book are very well developed and are easy to like, the main character in this book is Jesse, he finds him
Michelle Mcroberts
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: private-review
**I received an ARC of this title at no cost from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions voiced here are my own.**

I really wanted to like this book more than I did - not that I didn't like it, because I scored it 3 stars. I really thought the concept was interesting, I enjoyed the plot, and I liked that their were naturally developing relationships between the characters at the camp. There wasn't any insta-love, and it wasn't a given that the boys in the cabin would instantly l
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, ya-kid-lit
It seems as though teens and young adults being chosen or fated to be some sort of warriors defending mankind from evil has become a new hot topic. (Think of the Legion books by Kami Garcia, for instance.) In this case, Jesse Ballard is a young man with incredible athletic prowess who winds up with the wrong group of acquaintances just when they decide to rob a convenience store. He gets sentenced to a year on a ranch that is a reform program for troubled boys, Arivaca. But one of the ranch hand ...more
Lisa Tobleman
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Netgally book free in exchange for an honest review.

Man, this was a difficult book for me to read, and a difficult book for me to review.

I do a lot of Beta and Alpha reading, and even edit some books for indie authors. This is one book I believe needs more time with an editor. I liked the concept initially, but the ridiculous nature of the attacks, and the improbable situations, and bipolar nature of the dialogue and characterization left me shaking me head. Super human strength, no problem. Dru
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