Minnie lives in a remote coastal area of the United States together with her stepfather Dan. They are both struggling to come to terms with the death of Minnie’s mother and with learning to be a family of two. Their home is a small group of holiday cabins that was the dream project of Minnie’s Mum. The only other people around at this late end of the season are Billy and his mother Connie, who live in one of the cabins. Subtle changes start to happen in the area after major forest fires devastate the land on the other side of the mountain. This leads to wild animals moving territory and coming closer to habitation. However, one day Minnie and Billy find footprints that are way too big to be human, leading them to consider the possibility that the ‘Bigfoot’ might actually exist. The other side of the story is told through the eyes of a young ‘Sasquatch’ called Kaayii, who guards the family’s sleeping areas during the day. He becomes aware of the humans and tries to keep them away from the rest of his family, or clan. What becomes clear through this story, is that the humans have unknowingly built over the historic migration route of the Sasquatch. The problem is how can this be resolved without either group being threatened by the others?
This is an extremely powerful story that looks at the idea of family and how important that is in our lives. Each set of characters are having to come to terms with great change in their lives, which leads to changes in the dynamics of their relationships. What particularly impresses me is the way the author has created the characteristics of the Sasquatch; they are not a version of a human being, but are very much their own race. Language is mainly non-verbal and they often communicate through thought. The way they hunt, build dwellings and mark their territory is all beautifully explained and we get a real sense of how traumatic having to move has been for them. At the same time Minnie and Dan are having to learn more about each other and the enclosed community they are in does not allow them as much space as they would like. This is a wonderful and thought-provoking book and one that I would highly recommend.