Author: Jen Nadol
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: January 19, 2010
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it."
I purchased this book from a library sale. Neither Jen Nadol nor Bloomsbury USA Childrens requested this review.
Description from GoodReads
Sixteen year old Cassandra Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.
The one time she mentioned it to someone else, the mark was dismissed as a trick of the light. So Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.
Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her?
Most importantly: if you know today is someone's last, should you tell them?
I truly enjoyed the beginning portion of this book. Nadol definitely supplies her audience a wonderfully gripping exposition. It all starts with two deaths! Not one! Two! How could that possibly fail to reach an audience.
Additionally, I loved Cassie. Nadol truly did an amazing job describing her and helping the audience to watch her grow over the course of the book. I was definitely impressed with the way this was done. Even though she creates a sixteen year old who may act a little older than sixteen, it fits the story and is more meaningful than a truly sixteen acting character would have been.
However, I really didn't like that it focused on the theme more than it did on the story. The story should have been the way that the theme was taught, not just theme with a little story mixed in. Then again, I'm an English teacher and must always be overly critical of everything that I read. We'll call that an occupational hazard. I think that there is a lot to learn from this book, but strongly believe that the story line should have been more at the front line than sulking in the background.
Overall, I think that this would make a terrific addition to any classroom library and would be a high interest piece for low level readers.
About the Author
I grew up in Reading, PA, hometown of John Updike, Taylor Swift and fellow YA author A.S. King (nope, didn't know any of them).
I went to college at American University in Washington DC, graduated with a BA in Literature, then spent the next twelve years doing something totally unrelated to pay the bills.
Now I live north of NYC in an old farmhouse with my husband and three young sons. I am thrilled to finally be writing, the thing I always meant to do.