THE HUACA by Marcia Mickelson

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Cummings just wants to be a regular teenager, but after her mother’s mysterious murder, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever be normal again. Her mother’s death has left Ellie and her father worlds apart. And when her best friend abandons her, Ellie has no one else to turn to—except for the strange boy who says he can help.

Gabe de la Cruz seems to know way too much about everything,
and her instincts tell Ellie to stay far away. But when he claims that he can communicate with the dead through an ancient Incan artifact, Ellie can’t resist the temptation of seeing her mother again. In the hanan pacha—the Incan afterworld—Ellie’s mother sends a message to help Ellie understand what happened the night of the murder—a message that may be better kept a secret...

First line:
"The snow makes everything clean again."

Fun adventure! Ellie's mom was murdered and no suspect was found. Ellie's best friend is made at her because Ellie got a boy in trouble that the said friend wants to go out with and now this creepy Gabe is stalking/being nice to her. 
It's easy to relate to Ellie as she works through her trials with her BFF. And it was easy to dislike the BFF. Marcia writes her well and the reader can't help but roll eyes at her shallowness.
Gabe has scars on his arms and the kids at school think he's a cutter. He's a mystery. At first, Ellie is scared him but soon discovers that he might have the answers to her mom's death.
Gabe's grandfather is Incan. There is some interesting facts throughout the book about their mythology and spiritualism. I enjoy reading about other cultures and times.
The plot was interesting and the writing moved the story along.
I was surprised at some of the basic elements of writing that were not followed. For instance, when two people are having a conversation, I don't need the names in every dialogue or tag. This book still needs some editing. 
This is a good, clean book that many teens will enjoy, especially if they like mystic stories.
Rating: PG
V: Flashback of a murder
L: No
S: No

The BFF! I thought she was written well
The mystery 

I skimmed through much of the descriptions/dialogue

3 1/2 STARS


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