Friday, November 2, 2012
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2012
YA Paranormal Suspense
Book 1 in series
Source: Received from Jen Ryland/YA Romantics
Summary: Sara Jane has long thought there was something a little bit different and hidden about her family. But it's not til her sixteenth birthday that she discovers that her family is deeply entwined with the Chicago Outfit (or as you may call them, the Mob) and her parents and younger brother disappear, leaving Sara Jane behind to pick up the pieces and fight for them.
It's funny how one line can bring you completely on board with a character (or conversely totally turn you off). In this case, I fell for Sara Jane when she shared this about her family: "And the thing is, I loved being with my family because they were funnier and smarter and more interesting than most other kids' families" (pg 25 ARC). The reason this worked for me was because that's basically how I've felt. My dad is SO funny and my mom's a total nurturer and when we're all together, it can be really good. Having this line in the back of my mind throughout the book really kept me close to her.
This was necessary because while Sara Jane has an interesting time in the book, the way it is written was hard to read. There are many, many interesting plots (some of the more important are Sara Jane's missing family, their history with the Outfit, her uncle's simmering resentment against her father, and her boxing career although there is also some romance, some friendship, and a tiny hint of paranormal). But they do not all coalesce. Sometimes it seemed like we were shifting to focus on one plot and then mechanically moving on to a different part of the story. It did not flow as smoothly as I might have liked.
As mentioned, I liked Sara Jane but given that this is more of a plot-driven novel, the other characters didn't make much of an impression. They were easy enough to keep track of while reading but after a few days, I have largely forgotten their names and actions. This is definitely not a novel for someone who wants to get all up-close with the characters. You have to be ready to go for a wild ride!