Friday, October 15, 2010

The Mark

The Mark by Jen Nadol
Publication Date: January 19, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 228
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Cassie Renfield has always seen the mark -- a light flow reminiscent of candlelight -- but it's not until she follows a man to his death that she understands what it means. Cassie can see when a person is marked for death. She doesn't know how or where, only when: today. when the mark appears on Cassie's grandmother, she tries and fails to change her fate. The mark seems utterly useless, but Cassie can't ignore it. Desperate for answers, she searched her memories, her summer philosophy course, even her new boyfriend, Lucas, for any clue that might explain her ability. when she convinces Lucas of her power, he encourages her to test fate each time the mark appears. Cassie's not entirely sure she should use the mark like this, but with each occurrence, she finds answers she needs -- answers she never expected.

This book began quite well. The character Cassie seemed to have issues with herself and her "problem." In a seemingly normal world, she was able to see who would die soon, and she was learning to cope with this issue. With the death of her grandmother, Cassie became sullen and reserved, and she was shipped to live with a relative whom she barely knew, in a town she used to belong to. There, she met a boy. Typical girl meets boy story. This is where the novel began to go south. Their relationship developed intensely quickly, and I am always disappointed by the spiraling relationships. They are unrealistic, especially for young teens, and one cannot actually get to know a person through one cup of coffee. In addition to the social topics plummeting, the paranormal problem Cassie has is explained to easily. In such a realistic and solid world, the reasoning given behind Cassie's ability was completely insane and unbelievable. Yes, this is a supernatural gift she possesses, but under the premise of such a consistent world we know, the cause of this gift should not have been what it was.
Without giving away much else, I am able to say that this is a "read-once-do-not-repeat" story. However, if you're pressed for time, pick something else to begin with.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman
Publication Date: September 28, 2010
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Pages: 308
Format Read: ARC from publisher (thank you!)

Summary: On the surface, Emily Meckler leads the perfect life. She has three best friends, two loving parents, and the ideal setup at the Connecticut prep school where her father is the headmaster. But below the surface, Emily is suffering from devastating nightmares about either fire or water, and nobody knows why. When the enigmatic Del Sugar enters her life, Emily is immediately swept away--but her passionate relationship with Del is just the first of many things that aren't quite what they seem in Emily's life. And as the lies she's been told start to unravel, Emily must set out to discover the truth regarding her nightmares; a journey that will lead her to question everything she once thought she knew about love, family, and her own idyllic past.

This book blew me away. I assumed it would be another cheesy romace-boarding school-prep story. It sort of was. But Warman took it to a whole new level. Emily's nightmares were described with enough terror that made them real and psychological issues. In addition, the relationships Emily forged with people on campus were wonderfully realistic. I adored two of her friends that were twins and Warman's ability to add bickering and love into the same sentence. 

I was only a teeny bit disappointed with a plot twist. It seemed to unrealistic and unmanageable, and I wasn't convinced for a second that the situation could actually happen, but overall, I was very impressed. This was a book that I couldn't really put down and finished in nearly one sitting.

And did I mention how much I adore the cover? I love the girl's clothing. The colors blend perfectly with the scene around her, and her face is hidden, allowing me to create my own image of her in my imagination, which is why I LOVE covers without the characters.