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(The Reckoner #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  184 ratings  ·  61 reviews
When Cole Harper is compelled to return to Wounded Sky First Nation, he finds his community in chaos: a series of shocking murders, a mysterious illness ravaging the residents, and reemerging questions about Cole’s role in the tragedy that drove him away 10 years ago. With the aid of an unhelpful spirit, a disfigured ghost, and his two oldest friends, Cole tries to figure ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by HighWater Press
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  184 ratings  ·  61 reviews

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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved the premise for this - a YA dystopian future with an indigenous mythological background including a spirit guide coyote who's often disparaging to our young protagonist. It sounded great, and for the most part it was a fun read.

We follow Cole as he returns to his small town to find it in complete chaos. Still reeling from a mysterious fire that killed a number of children ten years ago, coupled with a recent series of murd
Mel (Epic Reading)
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc-netgalley
4.5 stars rounded up. The only reason this amazing indigenous young adult mystery (with a little supernatural) story doesn’t get a full five stars... I hated the very last page. For me the story was perfect, up until a sequel tease was put in . While I knew it was a series, and will look forward to encountering these characters again, the way the last page sets up the sequel cheapened the entire story for me. Almost as though it lessened what had just happened because more was to come. It's a re ...more
Quintin Zimmermann
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Strangers comes from the mind of David A. Robertson, an award-winning writer of children's books, who has taken his first foray into the YA genre.

So welcome to the nowhere town of Wounded Sky. A peculiar place inhabited by denizens still haunted by the tragic fire that broke out at the local school where so many children died. Dark secrets abound and tragedy isn't far behind as the story unfolds with a sombre, morose tone.

The main protagonist is Cole, one of the few survivors, who is suffering f
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun YA mystery with a supernatural twist rooted in indigenous folklore. The first half of the book left me a bit confused--I think it could have used a bit of tightening. The second half, however, I loved! Robertson really hits his stride, and a lot of the build-up we see early on pays off.

This book had two mysteries: what drove our main character Cole away from Wounded Sky, and what dark forces are causing mysterious problems in Wounded Sky. The first was great for character develop
I feel like I should start this review by addressing the fact that I did have some issues with this book and on any other day I might've given Strangers more of a 3 star than a 4, but I was just so damn hooked that I inhaled it in a day. This indie-published Cree ownvoices story captivated me way more than I expected to and for that, kudos is due. As for the rest of it, I have no idea if this review will actually be coherent or not, but bear with me.

We open with Coyote getting another young teen
Leanne C
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story is fabulous! It has it all: Mystery, struggles with relationships and mental health, shadowy government 'goings on' and a trickster you love and hate. I like that this book doesn't fit in a box, as far as genres go. I love the world that David A. Robertson created and I am going right back, as (lucky me) my husband has #2! ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Strangers was continually surprising me. Cole as a character was fascinating. There's this genuine painful past and it's only unraveled a fraction in Strangers. At the same time, there were really wonderful side characters that were detailed. It's my pet peeve when the side characters are not well described - but Robertson nails it! Not only is there diversity (First Nation teenag
Cheriee Weichel
How can you not love the cover of this book? Believe it or not, the inside is even better. I’m stumped trying to come up with words to describe this novel. It blends science-fiction and indigenous mythology into a riveting mystery. The characters, all of them, including the supernatural, are convincing. The dialogue is brilliant. It’s full of heartbreak and humour.
Cole Harper returns to his hometown of Wounded Sky after being away for ten years. Shortly after he arrives, people are being murder
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
How many Canadian detectives are there? How many are First Nation? How many are teenagers? I somehow doubt there are a whole lot there.

David Robertson writes Cole as a typical teenage boy, except, as we go further in the novel, we discover he is not typical. That when he saved his friends from a burning school, by lifting a wall, it was not a one off. That there is more than we know about Cole.

And then there is Coyote, disguised sometimes as a man, and sometimes as a coyote, who is trying to pr
It was great to read a YA urban fantasy/mystery with Cole, an Indigenous (Cree) protagonist who tries to understand his own anxieties both inside and outside of his small town. I'm also a fan of Cole's grandmother with all her wit and wisdom.

Review on the blog:
An exciting entry into the mysteries of Wounded Sky First Nation. I laughed, I gasped, I cried. The book is even loosely based on (view spoiler) I don't know how I'll hold out until the next book in the series! ...more
Amie's Book Reviews
Feb 14, 2021 marked it as to-read
David A. Robertson has another winning book on his hands.

He is a Cree writer from Canada who writes book's starring Indigenous characters which is something that is much needed in literature today.

I rate STRANGERS as 5 out of 5 Stars
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
agh...i wanted to like this but it just fell so flat for me. I love the covers of this series so much but that's kinda it. ...more
Liz Seasalt
Loved the Trump jokes, the pop culture references and Cole's anxiety disorder! Very relatable. Also: big yay for diverse protagonists in YA!!! ...more
Jan 22, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was ok - I read it for an indigenous book club. Another YA and also the first in a trilogy. It was a bit mystical which isn't my favourite type of book but the story was good. I'm not sure if I will read the other two titles in the series though. I probably would have rated it 2.5 if I could have. ...more
Terry Goertzen
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic literally! Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew meet DC Comic Superhero meets Manitoba reserve life. This is not only for young adults but for anyone who wants some insight into life on reserve from a young person's perspective. A real page turner. ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book because of an interview on CBC radio. There is a lot of "Nancy Drew" about it. You may remember .. Nancy finds a clue .. then doesn't follow it up for pages and pages because she has to make an apple pie or something stupid. The reader gets frustrated by this obviously intelligent group of teens who act so erratically, or so wantonly abandon obvious clues or don't follow up leads. The ending is vastly irritating as well. But the coyote character is fun, and some of the protago ...more
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first in a promising YA supernatural trilogy, this book is a mystery, but its also about a community constantly dealing with tragedy, and how the individuals cope with this. It takes place in a remote Indigenous community, and features some interesting characters such as a trickster figure, and a few of the teens who are well developed. There are some tragic events here for sure, but the interesting parts are how the characters deal with it and some of the Cree culture that makes this a uniq ...more
I love how every character in this book seems to hate the main character, Cole. Nobody likes this guy. At 8 or 9 years old, he saved a couple of lives, his friends from a school fire where many children died, essentially and reluctantly earning the title "hero"and in someways "villain". He leaves the community for ten years, and returns for a memorial. He is forced to deal with his past friendships, relations and former community members. Just like any old small community, but in this case, spec ...more
K.A. Wiggins
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, canadian
Surprisingly entertaining Canadian & Cree First Nations read about overcoming your past and owning your power.

Disclaimers: I'm reviewing an uncorrected proof ebook version acquired via NetGalley, I'm choosing to leave an unbiased review, and I'm not qualified to comment in-depth on aboriginal representation.

More disclaimers: Um, so I just want to note for the record that I already named characters Cole and Ash in BLIND THE EYES before I read this book. No plagiarism. I guess Canadian authors jus
Storytime With Stephanie
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Strangers by David A. Robertson published by Highwater Press is an incredible tale and the first in The Reckoner series.

I could not put this book down. It haunted me when I was not reading. I had to know the story of Wounded Sky First Nation and Cole Harper. Cole left Wounded Sky after a grave accident. After losing both his father and mother, his Grandmother and his aunt moved him to Winnipeg to get away and keep him safe. When Cole receives urgent and somewhat mysterious text messages from an
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more than I did. Mystery set in Canada with Cree protagonists and a paranormal angle? But it didn't quite work for me.
First, it took awhile for me to get into the story. We know Cole's aunt and grandmother moved him away to the city because of the Tragedy that happened when he was 7 years old, but it's unclear why they seem to have cut all ties to home, even after details of the Tragedy are revealed. With everyone keeping their secrets so close, it was hard to get to know m
Enid Wray
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! Oh how I love David Robertson’s work, and oh how I love a good trickster story… and coyote is my favourite of the lot, Nanabush being a close second.

And I’m so not disappointed. Thriller. Mystery. Noir. Coming of age. Trickster. Comedy. Impossible choices. Hero’s Journey. Metaphysical conundrums. Ingenious conceits. All wrapped up in one with a big bow. This is ticking so many boxes…

Robertson has so much fun with form, and it’s so smart. Granted a teen might not get some of the
Adela Bezemer-Cleverley

Well the first half was a struggle with the writing, but the second half hooked me in and drew me into the story, the action, the pain and grief and mystery.

Strangers is a mystery novel that's secretly a low-key superhero novel, but more on the mutant side of superhero tales with weird secret experiments and plots to shut them down/silence those who knew anything. All set in the remote Wounded Sky reservation. The plot itself--not incredibly creative for a superhero-murder-mystery, but the e
Nannette Demmler
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.
This was an incredibly fast read. I could have finished it in one sitting, but life intervened and it took a while longer to finish. It was fascinating and very hard to put down. Interesting characters and I loved the setting of an isolated First Nation community in the wilds of Northern Canada. Although it was a contemporary mystery, it does have the supernatural layer which gave the story an overall spooky feel to it.

Cole was a s
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Strangers is a confusing novel in itself because of the lacklustre characters and story ideas. They have no second thoughts about what they’re doing, even though it’s clearly not what they’re supposed to do. All of this combined with the fast pace of the novel leaves the reader frustrated and confused.

Strangers starts off when Ashley calls our protagonist, Cole, back to Wounded Sky. He arrives to find Wounded Sky in its own disarray of complications. With a killer on the loose and a mysteriou
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you ever want to read a good murder mystery read this book right now! The genre of this novel is a mystery, adventure, and suspense. The major theme of this book is courage. This story takes place in an indigenous town and what happens is the main character named Cole, who has been far away from his community, comes back home and realizes that he and his whole entire community is in danger. There is a murder on the loose and is killing everyone in the community. Could Cole possibly find out w ...more
Jessica Macaulay
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Where do I begin with this book? It is absolutely amazing! And although it is strongly rooted in the Cree culture, it is the type of book that can be enjoyed by adventure loving teens and adults regardless of their knowledge of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. The murders, the mysteries, and Cole’s personal development are enough to keep the pages turning.

Robertson’s role as educator on, and member of, the Cree Nation really shines through in his writing. It is refreshing to encounter a work devoid
Bradley  West
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book. Technically it might be in the YA realm, as it is central characters are YA, yet this is a book that a reader of any age, could relate too and enjoy.

Part who-dun-it; part supernatural tale; part love story and part homecoming/ hero redemption - this has it all, in a way that is both current and timeless.

The characters are so well done, that you feel you could know them, in your community ....and you probably do. I really appreciated the inclusivenes
Kathy Russo
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Strangers” by David Roberston is a magical bit of Canadian literature focused on indigenous teens.
The plot is crafted and woven together nicely while retaining that mystery aspect that leaves you wanting for more. It was able to capture my attention from the start and left me wanting the sequel then and there.
The characters are well-rounded, and our leading boy is relatable. It is rare for me to find a novel that has all the characters feel like real people, fleshed out as much as possible, w
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Goodreads Librari...: Different Release Date 2 17 Oct 13, 2017 07:27PM  

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David A. Robertson (he/him/his) is an award-winning writer and recent recipient of the Writer's Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award. His books include When We Were Alone (winner Governor General’s Literary Award), Will I See? (winner Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award), Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story (listed In The Margins), and the the YA trilogy The Reckoner (winner Michae ...more

Other books in the series

The Reckoner (3 books)
  • Monsters (The Reckoner, #2)
  • Ghosts

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