|My Rating: 4 Stars|
Ever since Samantha Winthrop's mother moved them to Lacuna Valley, supposedly in search of better weather, the list of strange questions she has no answers for has been growing out of control.
Does her little sister, Violet, have the ability to make things happen just by "praying" for them? Are Sam's dreams really predicting the future? Is she destined to marry the boy she just met, and what is the mysterious orb that he's guarding? Why does she get the impression that there are dangerous creatures watching from the woods?
While Sam should be focusing on answering those questions, there is one other that makes them seem almost irrelevant: Is her mother planning on killing her and Violet?
First off, this was a very entertaining read. There were a few things that kept me from rating this 5 stars, but I'll get to those later. Let's start with the yummy stuff first!
Real-life, strong, like-able (and hate-able) characters: Check.
All of the characters are well-developed. What's good about these characters is that they are not all perfect. Even the good guys have flaws. You like Sam, you like Violet, and you just straight-on hate the mom. They 'boy she just met'--Nick--is very like-able. He's strong and cute and I love the way he jumps to Sam's defense. Sam shows growth in this story, becoming stronger and more confident as the story moves along...maybe a little too confident as she and Nick get in over their heads.
And is Nick just a normal boy? You tell me! And there's a part in this book about Nick that is revealed that will make the young girls eat their hearts out. They'll all be saying, "I want a boyfriend like Nick!" Girls. Will. Love him.
The writing gives the flavor of the surroundings...you can picture Lacuna Valley, feel the heat and boredom, feel the cold, picture the school. All very nicely drafted to give the readers a place to ground themselves while reading.
Flaws: Check (what novel doesn't have them??)
The beginning of the novel moved a little too slowly for me. It takes a looooong time to get to the heart of the book: Sam and Violet's powers and what that means. I mean, Violet's powers are obvious...you see them almost immediately, but it takes Sam far too long to accept that something strange is going on. I found myself getting frustrated that the same questions keep arising with no answers until close to the middle of the book.
Sam and Nick laugh too much. Sorry. Yes, they're happy together and I get that, but I need some other description than "She laughed" or "He laughed" or "They laughed" to keep my interest.
There has to be more to Nick and his Dad than meet the eye, but I don't know what. Otherwise, not sure how they protect the orb against the unworldly beings. This is sort of just hanging out there...not sure if this is what it is (I hope not), or is developed in later books (I hope so). What is it about David that makes the bullies back off with just a word? Not sure. Like I said, he's a strong character, but I'm not really sure 'why'. I was hoping to get more.
I definitely have this in My Series To Keep Reading list!