cover image Canyons


Gary Paulsen. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-385-30153-4

Brennan is a young loner of the type that will be instantly familiar to Paulsen fans. Coyote Runs is a 19th-century Apache boy who was murdered during the raid that was to mark his entry into manhood. The two boys' stories come together when Brennan unearths Coyote Runs's skull and grows obsessed with the Apache's history. A sort of psychic link is forged, and Brennan learns that Coyote Runs's spirit will have no rest until his skull is taken to a sacred spot in the canyons. Brennan therefore undertakes a grueling and unusual journey which serves as a modern-day coming-of-age ritual. Terse language keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. This novel is not as engrossing as Hatchet , nor is it likely to appeal to as wide an audience. However, readers with an appetite for Paulsen's blend of nature and mysticism will overlook Canyons 's predictable plot and find much to savor in its spirit. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)