Ship of Souls got its first *starred* review! Here’s what the reviewer for Booklist had to say:
Eleven-year-old Dmitri, aka “D,” doesn’t fit in anywhere. After his single mother died three months ago,
he was taken in by an elderly white foster mom who also cares for a crack-addicted infant. At school, D’s
the smartest kid around, yet worries constantly that he’s not “black enough.” So it’s an oddball twist of
fate the afternoon he finds himself birdwatching with pierced military brat Nyla and basketball star,
Hakeem. A bond of friendship is solidified when D confides in them a secret: he has found a one-of-a-kind
“bird,” though it’s really not a bird—it’s a being named Nuru that has asked D to help her rescue the souls
of dead soldiers located at Manhattan’s African Burial Ground. Urban fantasies are nothing rare, but few
mesh gritty realism with poetic mysticism so convincingly. By turns sad, joyful, frightening, funny, and
inspirational, Elliott’s second novel is a marvel of tone and setting, creating a universe where angry
corpses and rock-monsters are every bit as expected as dirty subways and bag ladies. Issues of war,
poverty, racism, Islam, and 9/11 do not bog down the telling but instead enrich it. Different readers will
take away different messages, all of them powerful—quite an accomplishment for so few pages.
— Daniel Kraus
To my knowledge, there weren’t any dead soldiers buried in the African Burial Ground, but other than that, I’m *thrilled* with this review. Found out today that Kirkus passed because they didn’t have enough lead time…but hopefully more great reviews are yet to come.