Paranormal Young Adult
Received from publisher for review
Two years ago Pierce drowned in her family's backyard pool. Luckily for her, the frigid water gave doctors a chance to revive her, but she's different now. She didn't see a light that day, she saw John. John, who took her to his home in the Underworld. John, who told her she had to stay with him forever. John, who is surely angry with her for running from him and returning to the world of the living.
After a series of unfortunate events lead to her dismissal from her old school, and consequently her old life, Pierce and her mother move to an island off the Florida coast where her mom grew up. There's only one problem with the move: the island is where she first met John, and she has no doubt he will be able to find his way back into her life with her there.
Due to her status as "crazy" for what she revealed to her doctors and family about the Underworld, Pierce now has to attend school as a member of New Pathways, a special program for troubled teenagers. If only they understood what she saw. What she still sees. Because John isn't quite ready to let her go, and as she learns more about him and his world, she realizes that maybe what scares her most is not John himself, but her reaction to him.
Abandon is an engrossing and highly entertaining first installment of a three part series, the reading of it a bit like attending a theater production wherein the curtain doesn't fully rise to reveal the action, but rather is merely raised a foot at a time, making us squirm in our seats in anticipation of what those next few inches, or in this case pages, will reveal. Pierce's experience with death and the Underworld is presented to us in pieces–mentioned briefly in passing and drawing our unwavering attention as curiosity takes hold, but yet we must wait until the more detailed explanation is granted to us several chapters later. Our desire to know what has happened in the past as well as our need to know what will happen in the future combines delectably to leave us riveted to the pages, eyes scanning the sentences so quickly our very sockets feel sore the next day. As soon as our appetite for one piece of the puzzle is whetted, the next piece is held tantalizingly before us, luring, tempting, and enticing us to thoroughly explore Ms. Cabot's mythological interpretation.
Pierce is a complex heroine, inspiring often conflicting emotions in us as we delve deeper into the unusualness of her life after death. She at times is very relatable, her feelings of uncertainty with regard to not only starting a new school, but starting a new school already labeled as a problematic student, endearing her to us fairly quickly as we wish for her to find some normalcy in this new situation. Her interactions with John, however, are both frustrating and intriguing due to the fact that at the time of their current brief interlude, we have yet to be enlightened as to their complete history together. We then become defensive of John when Pierce pushes him away, only to recognize her need to do so some some pages later when more information is provided. This constant emotional flux keeps us on the edge of our seats, just wondering what feeling, positive or negative, will be elicited from us during their next interaction, and we find ourselves somewhat helpless to resist the allure of their undoubtedly unique connection.
John is a character we can't help but want to know more about, musings about his past and his present swirling in our minds as we hope that Pierce might somehow hear our silent plea and give voice to the questions that have taken up permanent residence in our heads. He, like Pierce, is difficult to label, our reactions to him changing and altering with each revelation, and the depth of his character seems almost too immense to translate into simple terms. He's both attractive and unnerving, hero and antihero, and reality and myth–his relationship with Pierce one that holds us captivated as we we wonder what facet of his complicated personality we'll be exposed to next. He seems so subdued one minute only to erupt in a temper the next, always reminding us of who he is lest it slip our minds in those quiet times, and we are forced to continually question whether we want him to win Pierce's affections or not.
Abandon is a highly recommended read, one full of mythology and romance where it's made clear to us we have but scratched the surface of Pierce's story and taken only that first step when miles and miles still await us. While events are certainly left unresolved, Ms. Cabot still gives her first installment a nice conclusion, leaving us satisfied but yet still aching with want as we attempt to resign ourselves to the long wait for Underworld.
Thanks to the fabulous people at Big Honcho Media and Scholastic, I have one copy of Abandon to give away along with a bracelet that features a quote from the book. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents only, and to enter please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. Contest will run through midnight EST Sunday, May 8th after which time a winner will be chosen from Random.org and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!
UPDATE: I received an extra copy of ABANDON in the mail today, so there will now be 2 winners. Big Honcho Media will be sending one winner a copy of the book and the bracelet and I will be sending the second winner just the book.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about Abandon and Scholastic's other young adult titles, be sure and check out their new online community This Is Teen - an initiative meant to connect readers to their favorite young adult authors! Please click on the below links for more information.
This Is Teen on Facebook
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Meg Cabot's Website
Meg Cabot on Twitter
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