Author – Kimberly Derting
Published – 2010 (paperback)
Genre – Young Adult
This was another free read (courtesy of @SamEades on Twitter) and, as I’m not a Young Adult anymore, out of my normal reading list. I saw quite a lot of enthusiasm for this book on the web, so despite a large pile of Christmas presents still to read, I kicked off the New Year with this.
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.
So perhaps, as an older adult, I should keep my opinions to myself. But a book’s a book so here goes.
The book has two stories – one is the development of the relationship between Violet and her long-standing best friend, Jay. The other is about Violet’s ability to sense the echoes of murder. For the most part the book is told in the third person following Violet as the main character. There are also shorter chapters in the book, in the first person, from the serial killer’s point of view as he stalks girls in the neighbourhood.
The positives in this book for me were the strong female characters – Violet is a pretty strong lead and her mother seems to be unconventional. The relationship between Violet and Jay was dealt with quite nicely – although I don’t know any girl I grew up with who had a boy as a best friend & wondered how true to life that really was. There was a certain feeling which reminded me of the “Twilight” books.
One of the things I didn’t really like was how Violet’s “sense” seemed to change to suit the story – whether it was a sound, something visual, a taste or a smell. It seemed a bit of an easy option for the author & I would have preferred a single sign of these murdered / murdering people. The mystery part of the story also seemed to be lacking in complexity and there was actually very little mystery to it. Finally, I felt that the author wasn’t too sure what the boundary of a YA novel was & didn’t seem to be consistent – for the most part I thought I would pass this on to my niece but there were one or two occasions which made me think twice.
All in all I thought this was an OK and easy read, but that a YA reading a mystery probably deserved a more complex plot.
Score – 3/5