Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.
When Dad disappears the next day, leaving behind a message that says “Run!”, the siblings and Nizhoni’s best friend, Davery, are thrust into a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. Their aid will come at a price: the kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. If Nizhoni, Mac, and Davery can reach the House of the Sun, they will be outfitted with what they need to defeat the ancient monsters Mr. Charles has unleashed. But it will take more than weapons for Nizhoni to become the hero she was destined to be . . .
Nizhoni can see monsters, but otherwise she is smart and loyal girl. She and her friend Davery are likable and relatable. Their journey into Navajo lore is exciting, perilous, and magical.
Race to the Sun is a fun, middle reader fantasy. Fans of Percy Jackson will enjoy this standalone story with fascinating Native American folklore. I only wish the villains would have been fleshed out a little more. But the journey Nizhoni follows is perilous and engaging. With plenty of adventure, suspense, and humor – this fast-paced story was a joy to read.