The Everlasting Road

Tundra. (The Floraverse: Bk. 2). Jan. 2023. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735269033.
Gr 9 Up–This sequel to Walking in Two Worlds delves once again into the dual realms—virtual and tangible—where a teenage girl grapples with grief, faces adversaries, and matures in self-assurance. Starting shortly after the loss of Bugz’s elder brother, Waawaate, to cancer, the narrative promptly plunges readers back into the unfolding drama. Despite being officially in a relationship with Feng, a Uighur residing on the reservation with his doctor aunt, Bugz’s profound sorrow draws her into the virtual Floraverse, where she creates a digital version of Waawaate in search of solace. Concurrently, the hostile players who had targeted Bugz in the Floraverse resurface, now becoming the focal point of the increasingly potent and uncontrollable Waawaate-bot. Crossing boundaries between worlds in inexplicable ways, the virtual entity poses a threat. Witnessing the unintended consequences of her creation prompts Bugz to reassess her coping mechanisms for her brother’s loss, especially as Feng receives startling news from China. The narrative also follows Waawaate’s journey through Gaagigewekinaa, the Everlasting Road, in the afterlife. Kinew, of Anishinaabe descent, skillfully presents another well-paced novel within a richly depicted world where young individuals carve out innovative paths grounded in community and cultural heritage. The story seamlessly integrates thrills with contemplative and poignant explorations of love and loss. Includes an author’s note, resources, and Anishinaabe terms and pronunciation guide.
VERDICT A great sequel that tackles grief and AI while infusing Indigenous culture.

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