Elatsoe is a book set in a slightly alternate US, with many things that are familiar… and some things that aren’t, like Ring Travel (for those related enough to fairies to use fairy rings as transport) and the well-known presence of things like ghosts, vampires, and weird cursed scarecrows. Darcie Little Badger is Lipan Apache, and so is her main character and her family, and the story is strongly informed by those traditions, stories and magic.
I think that for the right person, this book is pure magic. There’s a lot to enjoy, like Kirby the ghost dog, and the ghost trilobites, and for goodness’ sake the ghost mammoth. The world-building around the story is pretty fascinating, in its differences and the way it makes different traditions work together. I also enjoyed the trust between Ellie and her parents, and the fact that they believe her and act on what she tells them (unlike many parents in YA books). It’s also cool that Ellie is casually revealed to be asexual.
I didn’t fall head over heels for it, though. It felt like it just wasn’t aimed at me, really; there was nothing that I hated or could point to that I didn’t specifically like, though the narration felt a little young, and I could never quite place how old Ellie was meant to be. (We’re told at one point, or at least get a pretty good idea, from her thoughts about college and so on, but then I kept reading her as younger.)
So, not quite for me — and yet still enjoyable: I read it in big chunks, after all!