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Race to the Sun: 02/03/20
Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a standalone middle grade fantasy that retells the Hero Twins story. Nizhoni Begay and her brother Mac are close enough in age to almost be twins. She has recently started seeing monsters: creatures with red eyes and scary teeth who to most people appear ordinary.
Nizhoni spots a monster at a basketball game (and breaks her nose in the process). Turns out he's going to her dad's new boss. Worse yet, he wants to kill Nizhoni and kidnap Mac and Dad!
The remainder of the book is the race to the sun — or more precisely, the house of the sun, to get the weapons needed to defeat Mr. Charlie-the-monster. She, Mac, and friend Davery travel together following clues laid out by Mr. Yazee and help given by the Holy People they meet along the way.
Race to the Sun also (no surprise) sits on the road narrative spectrum. Although three children travel and could collectively be marginalized travelers (99), this novel is a modern rendition of a foundational tale to the Diné. It's the Hero Twins, not the marginalized siblings and friend. Therefore the the travelers of note are Nizhoni and Mac who are siblings (CC) close enough in age and friendship to count as twins for the purpose of their powers.
Their destination is the land of Holy People. It's not someplace the average person can get to. Although the place has been mapped and the way to it is known, it's usually known in the context of tales and songs and art. Their literal journey to and through it, is therefore a trip to and through utopia (FF).
The route to utopia is the railroad/interstate (00) and takes two forms here. The first is an Amtrak train to take them to Gallup. But it quickly becomes a train to impossible places, able to go up the sides of mountains. The second version is the Rainbow Road (shown in the Navajo Nation seal). Stay on the path through all the trials and reach the House of the Sun.
Altogether, Race to the Sun is the tale of siblings traveling to utopia via the railroad and interstate (though a magical and a metaphorical one).