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Creativity and duct tape at Woodburn Branch.

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Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

M: This is going to be hard, because I don’t remember it.

R: I think we’ll do just fine! For those of you playing along at home, today we’re reviewing a book that we read almost a year ago, because the sequel is coming out soon and Megan and I were fortunate enough to get a copy before publication. Yay!

M: And it was very very good and we wanted to share it with you!

R: So, on to reviewing book one! I like the cover in that it gets your attention and makes you wonder what the book is about. Does it perfectly fit with the story? No.

M: Can I just say I probably would not have read it, had you not recommended it. However, it’s not because it’s a bad cover, it just doesn’t scream “Megan!” and that it’s not really my preferred genre. I did really enjoy it though and I’ve switched to more mystery since, but with YA mystery you just never know whether it’s going to be good.

R: My absolute favorite part of this series has to be the interludes between the chapters where it’s set in second person. They’re so well done and they add a deliciously creepy factor to the story.

M: Definitely and this book had creep factor that was pretty high anyway. Do not read before you go to bed. Just a warning.

R: Yeah, the creepy bits sneak up on you. It definitely appeals to people who watch Criminal Minds.

M: I can see that. There were some good not creepy parts too.

R: And funny!

M: Funny?

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The Taiko, Japanese Drumming program during the summer …

… was a bit difficult to describe at first…

 

…so here is a video of some of the action from Woodburn Branch.

 

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

M: It was a good cover.

R: I thought you said it was a great cover!

M: It was a great cover! I was getting there; I thought they chose perfect models for Sloane and Emily. However, the heart sunglasses should have been aviators, but aside from that, spot on.

R: That’s true, however, the cover doesn’t really scream “Read me!” to me. It does accurately say that it’s a realistic fiction though. Which would probably grab the attention of people who do like to read that genre.

M: I actually think it resembles an adult cover. Stylewise.

R: It’s very current with the mix of fonts. I don’t want to get into the things I didn’t like about the book, so we’ll hold off I guess. Because the story was really cute and it had some entertaining moments, Collins I’m looking at you. So let’s jump into that.

M: I agree. I liked Collins more than I expected, when we first met him I thought he was going to be a complete jerk.

R: Me too! But he quickly became one of my favorite characters. His goofy personality added a lot more to the story and I definitely felt for him when he got pushed to the side.

M: I thought Frank was kind of sweet too, at least at first.

R: I mean, he was all right. There didn’t seem to be that much about him that stood out to me. I didn’t dislike him and he had some adorable moments, but he didn’t call out to me.

M: I think it was the scene at the minimart that got me. But then it was all ruined when the author decided to MAKE UP a comedian. All of the bands and artists in the playlists were real, but for some reason she couldn’t find a comedian that would work. Comedy snob that I am, it really ticked me off.

R: Welllll, I guess I can see that. It is irritating to me when author’s make up music and/or movies that the story is centered around when they could have quite easily found something that would work. But I feel like the music/playlists were really unnecessary to the story. We didn’t need to see every single playlist that they made that summer, except to drive home the ending. I won’t go into any more detail than that. But honestly, I feel like that last playlist was the only one that we needed to visually see. The other’s we understood what was going on without seeing it.

M: That’s true, very true. And they kind of made it feel discontinuous because of it; it was like they interrupted the story. Ya know, I’m not sure how I feel about Emily.

R: Agreed, there were inconsistencies to her character. She’s supposed to be this shy and extremely introverted person, except when it’s just her and Sloane, but there were mentions in the story of behaviors that she had around other people that just didn’t make sense. And these were past behaviors, not as she was opening up and growing. So it just seemed odd.

M: Mmmhmm, though she did say that Sloane led her at those moments. Though it sounded more like she was lazy than shy if you ask me.

R: She did mention that she had friends before, it’s not like she was completely in a bubble with absolutely no friends her age.

M: Right. Anyhoo, there were really slow moments and I probably won’t read anything by this author again. I was expecting, after reading all the praise for this book, another We Were Liars caliber book and it wasn’t. It wasn’t even close.

R: Hmm, well I hadn’t seen any reviews alluding to that and to be honest I would have been extremely confused to hear that. Because I’ve read other books by this author, so I wasn’t anticipating that much. I was hoping for a little bit more humor, because I remember Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour being funnier than this book.

M: Yeah, I guess it could have been a comedy, though I hadn’t been expecting that at all.

R: Well not comedy throughout the book to the level where the book was absolutely hysterical and I couldn’t stop laughing. But just a really nice balance of funny moments.

M: So it disappointed us both, but it wasn’t a terrible book. The end.

Book: 3 out of 5 stars

Cover: 4.5 out of 5 stars

New Horror Fiction

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