Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 14+ (language, a mature sexual scene, trigger warnings for death and suicide-like behavior)
I received a copy of the e-book version of this book for free from NetGalley as provided by the publisher and then I won a free copy of the print arc in a giveaway. Neither of these events changed my opinion of the book.
Coming from a race of highly-evolved humans, Julia Jaynes has the perfect life. The perfect family. The perfect destiny. But there’s something rotten beneath the surface–dangerous secrets her father is keeping; abilities she was never meant to have; and an elite society of people determined to keep their talents hidden and who care nothing for the rest of humanity. So when Julia accidentally disrupts the Jaynes’ delicate anonymity, she’s banished to the one place meant to make her feel inferior: public high school.
Julia’s goal is to lay low and blend in. Then she meets him–John Ford, tennis prodigy, all-around good guy. When Julia discovers a knack for reading his mind, and also manipulating his life, school suddenly becomes a temporary escape from the cold grip of her manipulative father. But as Julia’s powers over John grow, so do her feelings. For the first time in her life, Julia begins to develop a sense of self, to question her restrictive upbringing and her family prejudices. She must decide: can a perfect love be worth more than a perfect life? – Amazon.com
Ever thought that you were different? Julia sure has and she’s already in a selective group of people! She’s a part of this culture of people who have extraordinary abilities and no we’re not talking about X-Men although it’s clear she should join them. Regardless of my stance on that topic, I believed this book will be the underdog to look out for come October. It’s a decent Halloween-type book and a good book for any YA lover. The character development is amazingly written as we learn about two characters simultaneously through Julia’s inner connection to John and all of the main and important side characters have a distinct personality. The plot is also very well done. The writer does not spend time on minute details about the mundane activities of public high school and the reader becomes involved in the core topic of the book fairly early on. The book is also very well written and it’s proving to be a very easy read. While the book is 350+ pages, I flew through the book faster than any other book I’ve ever read this year not counting Illuminae.
However, I did find some very prominent issues in the book. For starters, the whole identity of Julia and her people are not explained until very late in the book and even then there are small questions the reader is left with that are never really fully explored. The book is also paced a bit weird. The book jumps forward in time quite a bit and without warning, so the reader must remain alert throughout the book in order to avoid confusion. And there is a bit of a quasi-love triangle/square, so fair warning if you absolutely hate those.
Verdict: Overall, I thought this was an incredible book. This was definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017 and I was hooked from the get-go. I think that the book was incredibly inspirational for anyone who’s ever felt different or unwanted or has been ostracized for one reason or another. As someone who has felt that way before and still struggles with it I felt empowered by Julia and I cheered for her every difficult step of the way. I hope you feel the same towards her because I strongly urge anyone who likes YA Fantasy to take a few days to read this book.