Bad Cree by Jessica Johns

Bad Cree book cover (red with black birds all over) on a bookshelf with Totoro in the background.

Bad Cree is a novel about a woman whose unnerving dreams lead her to return home and confront the death of her sister. Mackenzie is a young Cree woman living in Vancouver, spending time with her friend Joli and hardly speaking to her family. When her dreams result in her waking up with a crow’s head in her hands, and they feature memories of the campsite in the woods where she went with her twin sisters and cousin, she knows she has to speak to her family again, and face the death of one of her sisters that she’s been avoiding. But when she returns home, the dreams continue, and Mackenzie and her family must face what happened at the campsite by the lake.

Told from Mackenzie’s point of view, the book draws you into not only the world of her creepy dreams and the threat within, but also her waking world, in which she is trying to survive without thinking of her grief or the family she has run from. There’s a lot of things explored in the book, not only grief and family, but also use of the land, addiction, and generational trauma, but it is at its heart Mackenzie learning to reconnect with her family and solve the mystery of her dreams, both of which are connected. I liked how it combined horror and coming of age elements alongside Cree traditions and modern day realities, bringing layers to the book, and it is also very readable with great characters (I particularly liked Mackenzie’s friend Joli and sister Tracey).

(This post is part of the Bad Cree blog tour – check out the other reviews as they’re posted!)

Bad Cree blog tour from 10th Feb to 18th Feb from Scribe UK.