The Taking #1
Paranormal Young Adult
Available April 29th
Source: eARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.
Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.
Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?
The Taking is a story that piques our curiosity from the very first page, a number of theories about Kyra’s disappearance turning over in our minds before she’s even gone, and as soon as she returns our anxiety ratchets up in anticipation of learning exactly what happened. Though the first quarter of the book flies by as Kyra’s taken and returned years later to find her life entirely different from the one she left behind, the next quarter moves a touch slower, her struggle to come to terms with all the changes taking center stage and pushing the paranormal aspect to the background. Luckily that lull passes fairly quickly and things pick back up when government suits enter the picture, and suddenly we find ourselves sprinting to the finish, absolutely desperate to find out what’s in store for Kyra.
Kyra is an interesting character, impressing us one minute with the poise and maturity with which she handles the massive upheaval of her life only to frustrate us the next when all of that maturity suddenly disappears and a petulant child takes over. There is many a moment where the fact that she doesn’t simply break down into tears and sob “why me” endears Kyra to us and shows just how strong a young woman she truly is, but she also switches gears quickly, taking all her confusion and hurt out on those who don’t deserve it. To her absolute credit however, her childish moments are fleeting and nearly non-existent after the halfway mark, allowing her to become someone we’re rooting for with our whole hearts.
The romance with Tyler, however awkward if given too much thought seeing as she was previously dating his older brother, is sweet and gives those of us who are romantics at heart the butterflies we so enjoy while reading. Kyra is blissfully honest with Tyler, telling him everything she knows or theorizes when certain aspects of her disappearance don’t add up, all the while risking his rejection to ensure there are no secrets between them. Their open communication is a highlight, the lingering fear associated with many a YA relationship that a misunderstanding will blow up in their faces beautifully absent as the two of them attempt to figure things out together.
Overall, The Taking is an intriguing start to a new series by Ms. Derting, romance and mystery combining with a healthy dose of conspiracy theory to keep us turning the pages with increasing speed the closer we get to the end. We are left with a cliffhanger firmly in place, things for Kyra and company way up in the air on the final page and all the theories we’d amassed in the very beginning still yet to be confirmed. This cliffhanger though, however frustrating, does the job it’s meant to, and I will certainly be picking up book two to find out what’s to become of the characters who have held my interest throughout.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.