There is a lot to love about Guardian of the Dead Here s the shortlist a smart, kind of nerdy heroine the freedom restrictions of boarding school use and explanation of Maori myth by a white author who has the balls to point out in the text the colonial nature, possible inaccuracies, and just plain wrongness of Maori myth written down by white people high school use of a university library, because serious shizz calls for serious research patupaiarehe fairy type creatures , on There is a lot to love about Guardian of the Dead Here s the shortlist a smart, kind of nerdy heroine the freedom restrictions of boarding school use and explanation of Maori myth by a white author who has the balls to point out in the text the colonial nature, possible inaccuracies, and just plain wrongness of Maori myth written down by white people high school use of a university library, because serious shizz calls for serious research patupaiarehe fairy type creatures , one of whom is Titiana in Iris s production of A Midsummer Night s Dream be You Re Ellie Spencer I Opened My Mouth, Just As He Added, And Your Eyes Are Opening Seventeen Year Old Ellie Spencer Is Just Like Any Other Teenager At Her Boarding School She Hangs Out With Her Best Friend, Kevin She Obsesses Over Mark, A Cute And Mysterious Bad Boy And Her Biggest Worry Is Her Paper DeadlineBut Then Everything Changes The News Headlines Are All Abuzz About A Local String Of Killings That Share The Same Morbid Trademark The Victims Were Discovered With Their Eyes Missing Then A Beautiful Yet Eerie Woman Enters Ellie S Circle Of Friends And Develops An Unhealthy Fascination With Kevin, And A Crazed Old Man Grabs Ellie In A Public Square And Shoves A Tattered Bible Into Her Hands, Exclaiming, You Need It It Will Save Your Soul Soon, Ellie Finds Herself Plunged Into A Haunting World Of Vengeful Fairies In An Epic Battle For ImmortalityDebut Author Karen Healey Introduces A Savvy And Spirited Heroine With A Fresh, Strong Voice Full Of Deliciously Creepy Details, This Incredible Adventure Is A Deftly Crafted Story Of M Ori Mythology, Romance, And Betrayal 3,5 mythological starsYou ll see the big stories, the ones that have formed the shape of the world around you And you carry your own mythologies with you, so you can see the stories that are important to you, the ones that parts of you believe Eleanor Spencer is a good girl, so after her mother survives cancer and wants to spend some quality time traveling with her husband, she offers attend a boarding school Points for not whining about it Then, paranormal stuff happen Cute guys Some cr 3,5 mythological starsYou ll see the big stories, the ones that have formed the shape of the world around you And you carry your own mythologies with you, so you can see the stories that are important to you, the ones that parts of you believe Eleanor Spencer is a good girl, so after her mother survives cancer and wants to spend some quality time traveling with her husband, she offers attend a boarding school Points for not whining about it Then, paranormal stuff happen Cute guys Some crazy murders aside Other good points Multicultural characters Diversity ethnicity and gender orientation M ori myths Did I mention she is not orphan, vegetarian but big , and can use taekwondo Not so good Low self steem Guardian of the Dead is a unique YA novel that takes place in New Zealand and involves M ori indigenous New Zealand myths I wanted to love this novel so much, and almost did Unfortunately, it suffered from a severe case of literary ADD Did it want to be a coming of age novel M ori folktale Urban fantasy adventur Okay, I don t usually review books I didn t like, because they usually just aren t my thing, fine, to each their own This one, though, I think warrants an explanation.I found this book on an Asexual Reads book list, and much to my delight it took only a few pages for Kevin the main character s best friend to be explicitly confirmed as asexual Considering this is only the fourth book I ve read that actually uses the word asexual, I had very high expectations.And that s where the problem start Okay, I don t usually review books I didn t like, because they usually just aren t my thing, fine, to each their own This one, though, I think warrants an explanation.I found this book on an Asexual Reads book list, and much to my delight it took only a few pages for Kevin the main c I was lucky enough to read this book in manuscript form It s funny, intense, magical, dark, and scary an urban fantasy for teens in a New Zealand setting so vividly and perfectly described that I honestly felt I was there, even though I ve never been to New Zealand in my life I love the dist Eleanor Ellie Spencer is attending a boarding school in New Zealand in lieu of her last year at high school Her parents have left on vacation to celebrate her mother s miraculous recovery from cancer, and they have left Ellie in the prestigious yet dreary Mansfield College Things are shaken up a bit when her best friend, Kevin, becomes attracted to an ambiguous woman even though he has always claimed to be asexual And later on Elie finds herself falling for the mysterious Mark Nolan, a youn Eleanor Ellie Spencer is attending a boarding school in New Zealand in lieu of her last year at high school Her parents have left on vacation to celebrate her mother s miraculous recovery from cancer, and they have left Ellie in I didn t really know what I expected when I got this book, not really familiar with any New Zealand myths, so I was pleasantly surprised how good this book really was.Karen Healey weaves an interesting plot that mixes myths, mythology and mystery that makes Guardian of the Dead a very unique take for this particular paranormal element The writing draws you in, leading you into the drama but with a leashed pace.The characters were written really well and I connected with all of them right away I didn t really know what I expected when I got this book, not really familiar with any New Zealand myths, so I was pleasantly surprised how good this book really was.Karen Healey weaves an interesting plot that mixes myths, mythology and mystery that makes Guardian of the Dead a very unique take for this particular paranormal element The writing draws you in, leading you into the drama but with a leashed pace.The characters were written really well and I connected with all of them right away I liked there banter and the easy way the story folds around them.At first, I thought this wasn t a book for me, Guardian of the Dead gives a new perspective to the usual spiel of boarding schools, the outcast heroine and the hotch potch of supernatural elements The story is set in New Zealand and the setting closely reflects the story and mythology contained within the pages of the book It starts strong but somehow in the middle, it starts to lose its hold on the pace and the narrative and never regains it in quite the same way The mythology is not inserted into the story as seamlessly as possible and Guardian of the Dead gives a new perspective to the usual spiel of boarding schools, the outcast heroine and the hotch potch of supernatural elements The story is set in New Zealand and the setting closely reflects When you have as many TBR books as I do, it s hard to keep track of what came from where If I had to guess, I d say I got this book off a list of good LGBTQ young adult, or possibly a friend recced it due to the presence of an asexual character The book isn t worth it just for that nothing is worth it just for checking a diversity box but it is worth it It s a lively bit of fantasy about a girl at a boarding school who you think you can fill in the rest of this one, and you can in br When you have as many TBR books as I do, it s hard to keep track of what came from where If I had to guess, I d say I got this book off a list of good LGBTQ young adult, or possibly a friend recced it due to the presence of an asexual character The book isn t worth it just for that nothing is worth it just for checking a diversity box but it is worth it It s a lively bit of fantasy about a girl at a boarding school who you think you can fill in the rest of this one, and you can in broad outline, but not in the specifics I ended up reading a lot of wikipedia articles on Maori legends to get educated enough to keep up with this one It s a bitliteral about its magic metaphors than I like my fantasy, but there s this very real, warm heart of friendship and young bravery to this book, and it worked.It s a debut, and it shows, but I liked it I liked Healey