Written by Mark H. Kruger
Published by Simon & Schuster
August 27, 2013
Hardback, 423 pages
I hit the jackpot.
I finally picked up a book that was the first story of two. This is a nice change to start at the beginning compared to the last few books that were in the middle or end of a series. This means I have somewhere to possibly go after I finish the book.
And I do.
I find that in the current lockdown, it could be worse. We could be in Barrington, Colorado, the new home for Nica Ashley. Well not so new. She was born and raised there until her parents divorced. Her father stayed, and she traveled all over the world with her journalist mother. Unfortunately, a once-in-a-lifetime assignment for her mother in Antarctica sent Nica back to live with her father until she graduated high school. She soon finds that what appears to be a sleepy little town with the most cheery residents is not what it seems.
First, there’s the curfew when everything shuts down. “Everything” means even cell service and internet. Then there is the mysterious and stunning Jackson, a fellow school mate with a reputation obsessed with trying to find out why his girlfriend suddenly ‘disappeared’. And finally, the mysterious pulse of light in the sky which causes the town to become anxious and angry at anything and everyone. She realizes these are all connected, but the mystery is how and why. This sends her on an adventure that might be more exciting and dangerous than Antarctica.
In my mind, it is. Not to mention warmer.
Sometimes you need a break from adult thinking, and as much as some YA books are more teenagers whining, this was not bad. There is the usual puppy dog lust between teenagers but not overwhelming, like certain vampires. Plus the story is good. Some of the strangeness of Barrington is obvious; however, the why is not so much. There is some explanation but then a twist pops up making things even more mysterious. The characters tease just enough to keep your mind shifting all over with your own ideas. But the general story is simple and not too over thought… yet. I say that because this is the first of two books and I’m not sure how the full story will unfold.
I enjoyed the dynamics between the characters, the slow unraveling of secrets, the moments that make the reader question what they think they know. With as complicated as this could have been, so far, Kruger’s managed to keep it to a level that lets you think without hurting your brain, which helps keeps me engaged. He did well building this sleepy town and twisting it just enough to make it believable.
Or maybe I’ve just gotten used to 2020.
I have gone out and found the second book, Overtaken, to find out what happens to Nica, her friends, and her family. I was surprised to discover there was more to tell, not thinking about the story not ending yet when I ran out of pages to read. I think that is a good thing, that I’ve managed to lost in the story and become this invested in these characters and their outcomes.
I recommend starting this journey and hope that at then end of the next book, I can fully recommend both.