aka YA Literature

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Kaylee and her best friend Emma sneak into an 18+ club (they're only HS juniors). While Emma is off dancing with her many admirers, Kaylee is unexpectedly approached by one of the most attractive and popular guys in school, Nash Hudson. Before she really understands why, she and Nash are dancing together. In the midst of trying to enjoy the moment and figure out how she got so lucky, Kaylee notices a drunk girl who is surrounded by shadows. Kaylee is suddenly wracked by pain as everything begins going gray, and she feels a compulsion to scream. She's felt this one time before, about nine months ago in a shopping mall, and her incessant screaming caused her aunt and uncle (her legal guardians) to check her into the psychiatric unit of the hospital. Not wanting to repeat that experience nor to cause Nash to think her crazy, Kaylee exerts all her willpower to keep from screaming. But Nash can tell something is wrong, and eventually he and Emma escort her outside the club. After calming down, thanks partly due to the soothing humming that Nash offers, all three teens return home. The next morning, however, Kaylee turns on the news to discover that the drunk girl was found dead at the club last night. Then other young teen girls in her city start to collapse mysteriously and die for no apparent reason, and Kaylee never met the second victim but does know the third girl (a cheerleader at her school, whom Kaylee has the same physical reaction to just before she dies). Kaylee is struggling to figure out how the deaths are related (they must be related, right?) and why/how she seems to know they're going to die. She's trying to decide how she should proceed with her aunt and uncle since she doesn't want to return to the psych ward, and Nash seems to be a huge comfort to her. Does he understand her better than she could even know? I was interested in her relationship with Nash, the mystery of how she knows these girls are going to die and why they're dying, and why her dad has been pretty much absent since her mother died. I never felt like there were too many threads in the plot, and while you could figure out parts of each question, it wasn't all telegraphed from the beginning.

I really enjoyed this story, and I even went to a nearby but not-my-usual-library this weekend so I could pick up the second book in the series, My Soul to Save. Both books kept me very engaged, and I liked that they were complete stories in themselves. They made you interested in the characters but not feeling like you were left hanging at the end. And I really liked the ending to My Soul to Take because I didn't see it coming but it totally fit and made sense for the storyline and the characters.

Tangential: I liked that the parents weren't okay with Kaylee and Nash being alone together. To me, this is a realistic portrayal of concerned parents. I'm sure there are parents who don't care if a guy and girl are gettin' busy, but that was never my experience as a teen. I feel like I've been encountering a lot of nonchalant parents in my YA reading lately.

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