It seems like I'm having a bit of a paranormal YA summer. I bet this thrills all of you who thought they had me pegged as a different sort of reader than I turned out to be. As usual, I continue to shoot myself in the foot when it comes to "branding" my blog and having a nice concise answer to deliver when people ask me what kind of books I blog about.
I'll be honest. I never thought that paranormal YA would be my guilty pleasure. I love a vampire or a werewolf or a zombie as much as the next girl, but I never thought I would be that person who had read a book or two of half a dozen different series featuring such things, never thought it would be a genre that would capture me for any length of time. As it turns out, though, during the languorous, roasting hot days of this summer, it seems like the untaxing entertainment that YA books about vampires and werewolves and zombies (oh my!) have to offer is just what the doctor ordered. Perfect, pageturning little intermissions between the rest of everything my collapsing bookshelves have to offer.
Why all the preaching about paranormal, you ask? I'm sure you've already guessed. I'm about to review yet another paranormal YA title, and I wanted to prepare you and assure you that this is (probably? maybe?) only a phase, and I will move on to something else in due course. What that something else is, I can't guarantee. Perhaps when I begin reviewing carpentry manuals or anatomy textbooks or something, you will long for these days of werewolves, immortals, and disembodied souls. Of course, I'm just kidding about the manuals and textbooks....or am I? ;-)
Intertwined is the first in a new series by Gena Showalter featuring Aden Stone, a hot sixteen-year-old guy who would be totally normal but for the four disembodied souls taking up space inside his head. Since his parents abandoned him as a small child, Aden has been bounced from mental institutions to foster homes to prisons and back again. Finally, he's landed at D and M Ranch, a home for troubled teenagers run by a former football player. Unfortunately, Aden's troubles have just begun. You see, the souls give Aden powers - powers to raise the dead, see the future, travel through time, and possess the body of another; and those powers are attracting creatures that Aden never believed existed. A few of them are on his side, but the others' motives could be far more sinister.
Aden knows the only way to stop what's going to happen is to find the four souls bodies of their own, and he may have just met the girl who could help him do just that, a girl named Mary Ann who inexplicably neutralizes the souls. Before he knows it, Aden, a guy who has never had so much as one friend is friends with Mary Ann, in love with a vampire princess, and at odds with a werewolf. All this, and he has to convince the owner of the D and M that he's changed his ways and is living a normal, upstanding life or chance being sent away yet again.
I'm so torn about Intertwined. Honestly, it was a bit over the top for me. There's more paranormal stuff in this book than you can shake a stick at. It fairly reeks of its Harlequin brethren which I abandoned shortly before I graduated from high school. Its male characters are all strikingly beautiful. Its female characters, even the would-be strong ones, seem to be always in need of protection, or, at least, so all the male characters seem to believe. It's all just a bit too contrived with problems a bit too easily solved by unlikley powers seemingly invented on the fly. I found myself more than occasionally irritated, even patronized by its wanderings into the ridiculous.
Ah, but wait. I also devoured the story with alarming speed. It's well-paced and packed with action and mystery. Its characters, including all of the souls Aden's mind plays host to, are a sympathetic bunch, even the ones who have slightly more evil leanings. I had an easier time buying one romance than the other, but both were played out in interesting and often unexpected ways. Showalter tells an absorbing story even if it does require a hefty dose of suspension of disbelief. All in all, Intertwined is a book that I have a hard time admitting that I liked, but I did. I'm sure I'll be eager to have the next installment, Unraveled, when it drops on August 31st, because, well, I have to know what happens to Aden and his souls, don't I?
(For the curious, I won this book from Robin at My Two Blessings in her BBAW contest last year. Thanks again, Robin!)