This stunning contemporary Native American novel, From These Ashes chronicles the journey of two siblings looking for “home,” while searching for themselves, each other, their heritage and their destiny.
In a center for cult recovery in Phoenix, Arizona, 16-year-old Native American Naomi West refuses to talk; instead she writes — about her life, about her brother, about the prophecy, and about the fire that nearly destroyed it all.
Meanwhile, her half-white brother, Tim West, awakes alone in a forest without memories of his past, only an unconscious urge to head west. It is on a Cascade mountaintop where he once again gets too close to a fire, and what starts as a horrifying nightmare wakens him to the truth of his past and a devastating choice that cost him everything.
Author Tamela J. Ritter said in an interview that she didn’t originally plan to bring her own cultural heritage into From These Ashes, saying of her own grandmother, Naomi, “What I remember is how proud she was of her heritage, how tightly she held onto it.” Ms. Ritter spins a gripping tale of reservation life, featuring realistically drawn characters and the struggle of young people to figure out where they belong in the world, with heartfelt and nuanced writing.
If you love books by Native American authors like Sherman Alexie, Louise Eldritch, and Leslie Marmon Silko, From These Ashes by Tamela J. Ritter is a must-read for your bookshelf that you’ll love to read again and again.