Imagine having the power to view someone's past at the briefest touch of their skin.
During freshman year, seventeen-year-old Thea Scott developed the suckiest burden ever. At the slightest brush of a person’s skin, she’s forced to walk in their memories. She’d give anything to get rid of this uncontrollable ability. When breathtakingly gorgeous Cole Conway strolls through the auditorium doors and she faints, literally, he acts like he knows her secret. The last thing she wants is to end up in a lab with her brain in a jar, so she decides to use her ability to enter his memories.
Cole unveils out-of-this-world dangers she never imagined existed. Even worse, her own past is her greatest fear. The deeper she falls, the more turmoil and heartbreak she crashes into. Dreams of fitting in dissolve when she must protect herself from things far more terrifying than high school rumors.
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Fun, funny, YA
I tend to be harsh on YAs with boxes to check and obvious tropes vomiting in every chapter. They take me a long time to read. It feels like work. This didn't feel like work. I casually started reading on a Sunday and finished on Thursday of that same week. What kept me reading? For one, the story was very inventive and the magic system intricate yet not overwhelming. The characters were fun. Sure it checked a few boxes, but that's part of the genre. Lovers of YA/Fantasy expect to see certain aspects on full display. It keeps them grounded. I didn't mind it, expecially when the story was self-aware:
"This guy was a walking, talking, paranormal cliche. A hot, flawlessly-cut, outer space being, standing in perfect lighting without a shirt."
Yes, Thea, that's what I thought, too. Haha. And yet, it didn't bother me here. The mc was strong enough to carry the whole story which isn't always the case. She was naively funny, too.
"I guessed he was right. I had saved his life. Maybe I was a destined vigilante."
Thea is a teenager with teenage needs. And I know how some would find it annoying that she thinks about wanting a normal high school life and getting kissed, but that's the want of a lot of teenage girls. If you're reading YA novel while projecting adult thoughts onto the characters you're not going to enjoy yourself. Thea wanted what a lot of girls want. It might not be to be extraordinary or a scientist but she didn't have to. Yet:
"I'm different? Great. So, I went from being a freak to the freak among the freaks. Awesome. Just awesome."
There are a few things we learn later on in the story that help explain why it woudln't have been wise of her to "reach for the stars." Still, she was plucky and fun and even though she wasn't always sure what was going on and to who or why, she never stopped wanting to learn and do better when better was the right thing to do. At the end, Thea is a much stronger person for having discovered her life was never meant to be simple.
As for the rest of the cast. I'm hoping to see more of them. I'm expecially talking about Cole. I liked Cole. I still wanted to know more about his journey. And I don't mean his one main goal in life, but the other parts of him. He was crazy for Thea and that was clear enough, but that also left a lot of room for him to grow and expand. Looking forward to that.
Nora, Drake, Logan, Wynter, and Ethan were all fun supporting characters. I was the most interested in Drake. He seemed the most complicated. As for Logan and Nora, they were a hoot, Logan, a pompous brat, and Nora, a hard-edged drunkard. Haha. Ethan was very interesting. And Wynter was a great friend. I like how the story balanced Thea's current life and friends and family, Aunt Karen, with the new life she finds herself in.
For the story itself. There is magic, high school, first kisses, first dates, angst, mystery, romance, adventure, etc. It's a YA novel. Expect fun and you will be entertained. The ride doesn't stop and there was never a dull moment. Good read.
Addictive ORIGINAL read!
Absolutely addictive writing! Cannot wait for more in this series.
This book gripped me early on and I was never able to stop thinking about it; even now, having finished it days ago, it remains on my mind. The writing is very good and the characters are real. There are a few typos and a couple of continuity issues, but none of them made me miss this book any less when I put it down.
After reading this, I’m eager to read more from Carly Marino. She has a knack for developing complex characters that when thrown into chaos, remain true to themselves. Character development continuity was fantastic.
Overall I’d rate this somewhere between three and four stars - with the full four stars being awarded if the minor issues I mentioned were corrected.