This is one of the strangest books I’ve encountered in YA. It was full on weird, and, yet . . . I still read it in a single sitting. Maybe the breathtaking cover mesmerized me. Maybe I just can’t resist a weird twist. Whatever it was, I was compelled to read on. Ultimately, it was a three star read for me, but I can’t say I don’t remember it months later.
“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”
Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.
She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.
On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her… .
Kenna is an engaging protagonist with complex feelings and the little bit of a dark side needed to make her feel like a real person more than a character. The first person point of view gives readers plenty of insight into her inner workings, but it does leave the secondary characters feeling a little flat. I don’t think that is necessarily a negative thing because it does leave readers guessing about everyone’s intentions and it plays into the ominous atmosphere.
The story is well paced to hold reader interest and develop Kenna’s internal conflicts. It does seem move quickly when it comes to external conflict, especially at the end when it starts to slam readers with action. I don’t think it will bother many readers because most of them will be left puzzling out the rather bizarre explanation behind Kenna’s abilities. It was certainly unique. This is one of those books that drags out the mystery until the last possible moment. Readers are given clues that allow them to make some inferences, but, ultimately there is a lot of delay and “we can’t tell you anything too revealing just yet” going on.
I thought the book was definitely something I hadn’t seen before, but ultimately readers will be able to guess what it all comes down to because, well, cult. I enjoyed the story and found it engaging. It was creepy but not necessarily scary. There was suspense galore, and I really wasn’t sure how the story would pan out – I just knew it wouldn’t be bland. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers (light sensuality, drug-like abuse of substances, and violence).
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.