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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Sanhinga by James O'Leary is the story of a teenager as he is forced into situations he never even imagined. Born in Elk Horn, Alaska, Isaak is a fifteen-year-old boy who has big aspirations for his future. He moved to Denmark on a scholarship at a private school. He isn’t interested in going to a completely different place, but at his mother’s insistence, he manages to get in. Things are good in the beginning, he finds a friend and falls in love with pretty Liva. But before Isaak knows what is happening, he is trapped in a web of lies and deceit. He is framed for a horrible crime by a fellow student and has to face the repercussions of it. Mentally scarred and treated like a criminal, this is the story of a young man whose life will never be the same after this ordeal ends.
Sanhinga is an intense story. I like how willful and resilient Isaak is. He is far away from home and does not know anyone, but he is ready to give this a chance. He is on the brink of adulthood but he is still young. There is innocence in the way he acts and how he reacts. His feelings for Liva, his friendship with Felix, and his confusion over the animosity with Magnus all seem very real. The setting is handled well and the author keeps the pace fast enough to maintain the attention of readers. I am particularly impressed with the amount of information James O'Leary provides about the Sanhinga tribe and their belief system. It is fascinating how Isaak matures as the story progresses. The plot takes a political turn to bring in more action and that just makes me wish for more from Isaak. He accepts his fate, understands what happened, and he makes peace with his past. I hope the author writes a sequel where we see Isaak as a member of the Wolfpack and the life he creates for himself.