April 15, 2024

Sheine Lende

By Darcie Little Badger
Review by
Darcie Little Badger combines the myths and legends of her Lipan Apache tribe with fantastical elements in Sheine Lende to tell a story that, while fictional, rings true.
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Seventeen-year-old Shane has spent much of her adolescence mired in grief. Several years ago, a flood devastated the Lipan Apache community where Shane and her family lived in Texas, and Shane’s father and paternal grandparents died. Only Shane, her mother, Lorenza, and Shane’s little brother left their home unscathed. 

Shane and Lorenza are part of a long line of Lipan Apache women who can raise the ghosts of animals, an ability they put to use to help locate the missing. In their new, patched-together life, Shane helps Lorenza with local search-and-rescue missions, assisted by their well-trained bloodhounds—as well as their ghost dog. 

But one day, Lorenza herself goes missing herself while searching for a pair of siblings. Shane rushes to follow Lorenza’s trail, but it soon becomes clear that Lorenza and the siblings have vanished from the area entirely, thanks to the strange workings of fairy magic. To find them, Shane must call on the support of her family—both given and chosen—and the strength of her ancestors. 

A prequel to acclaimed YA author Darcie Little Badger’s 2020 debut Elatsoe (which features Shane’s granddaughter, Ellie, as the protagonist), Sheine Lende is a powerful and deeply moving tale of family, grief, cultural identity and magic. As a Lipan Apache woman herself, Little Badger combines the myths and legends of her tribe with fantastical elements to tell a story that, while fictional, rings true.The universe the book occupies is almost identical to our own, except in Little Badger’s version of reality, the ancient folklores that have informed cultural beliefs and practices since time immemorial are made manifest in the real world—but they exist alongside representations of true and historic modes of systemic oppression used by the U.S. government against indigenous peoples like the Lipan.

This is not to say, however, that Sheine Lende is all darkness. Though frequently consumed by anxiety, doubt and grief, Shane is a vibrant character who continues to find joy in her family, friends and the world around her. And on a larger scale, Little Badgernever portrays the Lipan Apache tribe as downtrodden or defeated. Much to the contrary, Sheine Lende presents a family and a people who have had atrocities small and large, but who, despite it all, turn toward the light.

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Sheine Lende

Sheine Lende

By Darcie Little Badger
Levine Querido
ISBN 9781646143795

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