Thursday, 6 January 2011

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

6th January 2010, Mira Ink
368 pages, Paperback
Review copy 

Young Adult, Paranormal 

Banshees, reapers (as in grim reapers), humour, strong theme of family, some teen romance, possibly occasional language (can't quite remember...), death, tragedy, school life, heaps of twists, tissues needed 

Summary from the publicity blurb

If being a teenager wasn’t hard enough, Kaylee Cavanaugh has realised that she’s not like her classmates. Not only is she one of the most uncool girls in her class, she soon discovers she has the unnerving ability of knowing when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school and proving she has what it takes to be cool. But a normal date is hard to come by when her highschool crush seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next…

Nayuleska's thoughts
As a new fan to Rachel's work (I've read ALPHA, the last book in her shifters series), I said 'yes please!' rather enthusiastically to reviewing this new book. It is Rachel's first young adult book, and it is every bit as exciting as ALPHA. There is marginally less danger - but only marginally. I loved how the book is orientated around family. Kaylee's family play a huge role in her life as she begins to learn more about her gift. I really liked how she finds out about it. As a reader I could sense that everyone knew much more than they were letting on. Yes, naturally I wanted to find out asap what Kaylee could do, but the mystery added to the fun of reading about her. I kept wondering why Nash was paying so much attention to her - the truth made me squeal with joy. There are a lot of plot twists which will make you gasp as you read it. Kaylee is a likeable character - as is her best friend Emma who is forever getting in trouble. The stakes for Kaylee rise to dizzying heights at the end - I'm sure my heart kept missing every other beat with all the anticipation. 

Kaylee does get attention from her classmates - and also from people who she'd rather not know once she finds out about their true nature. On the press release it explains the issues that the book explores - drug abuse and self-image are two large ones. These are explored in depth, but in a way that the message gets across without needing neon lights. I think a lot of people can relate to what Kaylee's going through, because sadly more and more people know someone with a low self-image, or have it themselves. Unlike Kaylee most don't make a scene when out in public, but sometimes even small things can seem really large. For example if people are highly uncoordinated (sometimes due to medical reasons) or slow/stiff from conditions like arthritis it can be hard shopping because people will see the person be slow. Kaylee has several incidents when she is incapacitated, but thankfully her friends are nearby to talk her through it and get her to safety. Although there is a reason why Nash is so skillful at calming her :)

Wow! Kaylee is in the dark about so much, but part of the best bit of the novel was sensing that others were keeping secrets from her. Kaylee has much to learn, so I'm sure the following books will be just as exciting. Book 2 will be out in March! (For American readers I believe book 4 is published this month). 

Check out Rachel on her website, and her Shifters series (which ends with Alpha)

Similarly good books: Trance by Linda Gerber and Lisa McMan's series: Wake, Fade, Gone

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