by Sara Wilson Etienne
Plot Summary:When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.
But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.
Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.
Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.
Review:I was immediately drawn to this book by the awesome book cover! So mysterious and foreboding! The plot is also intriguing, with a paranormal mystery brewing. The story sets a quick pace right from the start with a rather complex setting to establish. The Earth is very damaged, and with the lack of resources, humans have divided into collectives to ration their resources, while people in the bigger cities mostly have to fend for themselves. While the desperate condition the world is in is ultimately necessary to the story, I felt like it was glossed over so quickly, that keeping up with the changes the new society produced made the narrative sometimes very confusing. It was hard as well to understand what was going on because the main character, Faye, often hears and sees things that aren't real. So it's difficult to decipher what is actually contributing to the plot, and what is her hallucination. This novel seemed to have a lot to say but everything was so rushed together that nothing ever really came together. Definitely I felt compelled to keep reading because often I really had no idea what was going on.
I did like the idea of "family" that keeps Faye and her school fellows together and the little rebellions they tried to stage. The story is complex and the characters each have their own distinct personalities. Although sometimes the personalities felt a little stereotypical. The romance between Kel and Faye felt a little flat, mostly because they were drawn together by things that happened in the past, and the circumstances of that weren't revealed until the end. A lot of people are keeping secrets in this story, and I think it makes the story an interesting read, but overall I was disappointed by the disjointed storytelling, the perfunctory romance, and the ending which wrapped up a little too easily.