Disclaimer: The author kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinions.
Fourteen-year-old Alice is tired of childish games but doesn’t want to grow up—at least, not in the way expected by her Bigfoot community.
The morning of the summer solstice, her parents are ready with her first suitor. And that night, in the flames of a bonfire, the Fae give Alice a gift: the ability to appear human.
Soon Alice spends her days at Piner High School where she finds friends and establishes rivalries. But she spends her mornings with her suitor Daylen, and he helps her discover a role in their community—one she might even enjoy.
By the winter solstice, Alice must choose. Does she keep her shapeshifting ability or accept her expanding role with her people?
Beware! This review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own risk!
This story was the perfect blend of fun, magic, and middle-grade sweetness!
Quirky and unique, A Bigfoot’s Gift mixes fantasy, contemporary, and a hint of magic together to create one wonderful book. I had such a blast reading it, and I’m already dying to pick up the sequel!
Our story is narrated by Alice, a teenage Bigfoot who’s still trying to find her place in her village, when she is suddenly granted the ability to shape-shift into a human and travel between worlds! In order to understand humans and their way of life, Alice enrolls in the local high school and signs up for the junior varisty volleyball team! Along the way, she meets friends and foes, as she faces the many challenges of living in the human world.
I really enjoyed getting to read through Alice’s perspective. I liked how she wasn’t your typical “perfect” middle-grade protagonist, as I’ve found that many characters within said genre are essentially written to be unflawed, resulting in them also being very underdeveloped. I admired how Alice didn’t immediately succeed at everything, and that she had to work hard to get things done. She had insecurities and vulnerabilities, making her a very realistic character.
I thought that Alice’s friendship with Peyton was a very sweet touch to the book… there’s nothing better than a healthy female friendship, especially when it comes to middle-grade! Peyton was such a supportive friend to Alice, and I can’t wait to see more of her in book two.
Call me crazy, but I actually found the story’s main antagonist, Lexi, very interesting. She was absolutely terrible to Alice, and I don’t condone her actions at all, but I think she had a lot of depth to her that we didn’t necessarily get to see on page. You could tell that that the extreme pressure put on her by her mother definitely influenced the questionable choices she made throughout the book, and that deep down, she was probably just an insecure girl rather than a vicious bully. I think that Mel Braxton put a unique spin on the mean girl trope with Lexi, and I hope we get to see her character grow in future books!
I definitely was more drawn to the female-female relationships in this book than the female-male ones, because truth be told, I didn’t see much chemistry between Alice and her suitor, Daylen. I think this is partly because Daylen didn’t get that much “screen time” in the book, and partly because I shipped Alice with another character (and potential love interest?), Mark, far more. I think that the romance between Daylen and Alice was necessary, because it made the stakes higher for Alice, but at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat happy when they broke up at the end of the book. I think this means that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mark in the next installment in the series, and I’m super excited for that!
Listen, guys. I’m certainly not a volleyball player, but all the fast paced volleyball games and tournaments were easily my favorite part of this book! I loved getting to see Alice grow as a player, and the themes of teamwork, friendship, and overcoming challenging obstacles were beautifully portrayed. I liked that Alice’s journey wasn’t a success-only one, and that we see her make many mistakes throughout the story. I think that it’s important for young readers to see middle-grade characters struggle and fail, because that’s real life for ya! The messages of learning from your mistakes and never giving up were so heartwarming to see, and I think that many readers will connect with this book for that reason!
A Bigfoot’s Gift was all kinds of fun, and I definitely recommend giving it a read, even if you don’t usually gravitate towards the middle grade genre. No matter how old or young you are, you’ll have a great time reading this book! It’s a story that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages!
With powerful themes, interesting characters, strong friendships, and a fast-moving plot, A Bigfoot’s Gift was an absolute pleasure to read. I’m so eager to see how the next part of Alice’s story unfolds in the sequel, A Bigfoot’s Quest!