After the End by Amy Plum

end2Oh my God, did I love this. A girl lives in remote Alaska in her village that relies on old-fashioned survival ways, even though it’s the current time.  The elders of the clan moved there in 1984, at the outset of World War 3.  They’ve lived peacefully and successfully there, despite assuming that probably some other survivors roam the outside world.  When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover her entire clan vanished she is determined to track them down. And when she does she finds out that there never was a WWIII-the outside world is exactly as it is right now for you and me!! So first you’ve got that wonderful time-travel/culture clash of discovering modern and contemporary society (cell phones, skyscrapers, etc.).  Everything she knows about the world comes from a 1983 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, so wandering Seattle in her furs and buckskin pants is quite shocking.  Not to mention finding out that apparently she’s been lied to her entire life.
Now, on to the other interesting bits. Like all the children in her clan Juneau has a gold starburst in her eye.  It shows how at one with the Yara she is. The Yara is basically every thing in the world-plants, flowers, animals, humans, nature.  She can connect to it and find out things, and even make things happen. This mystical element seems so at odd with modern society, but it is very real.  An oracle tells her she must find a certain boy to guide her-it turns out that the boy is the son of a man who is determined to get Juneau.  But to what end? It’s an exciting mystery with crazy turns of events that find this book ending in a very different way than it began.  Her starburst and mystical abilities made me think for a bit of Firestarter, though fortunately Juneau doesn’t use her Yara abilities for bad.  I absolutely cannot wait for book #2 as this really left you hanging.