Sleight (Book One of the Avra-K series) by Jennifer Sommersby
Published: 25 March 2011
Description from Goodreads:
Her mom is dead.
Ghosts follow her around.
Her best friend is an elephant.
And she’s about to meet the biggest game changer of all: a boy. With a secret.
When circus-dwelling Gemma Flannery learns she will be attending public school for the first time in her seventeen years, little does she know that fitting in with her 12th-grade classmates will be the least of her concerns. A pro at hiding her knack for seeing the dead (“shades”), Gemma is grieving the recent suicide of her mentally ill mother, a process eased by the introduction of her first real love interest, the charming and painfully handsome Henry Dmitri, who is harboring his own collection of dangerous secrets. Together, they will be presented with a frightening challenge: to assume their roles as heirs to a 3000-year-old magical text, the AVRAKEDAVRA, a book the über-rich, sleight-of-being master Lucian Dmitri would do anything to get his hands on. As each terrifying layer in her new reality melts away, Gemma unearths truths that her quiet, nomadic life with the Cinzio Traveling Players is not at all what she’d always cherished. Gemma and Henry must rely on each other to stop Lucian’s diabolical plotting that will bring the world to its tired, scab-riddled knees, and are sent on the flight of their young lives, to save themselves, their families, and the world from the darkest kind of destruction.
Let the chase begin.
Firstly, how frickin fantastic is that synopsis?? I swear I read it and I was like :O:O I NEED THIS BOOK NOOOOWWWW!!!
This is the first self-published book I've read; and if they're all like this then I'm going to have a tonne of books to read, because I loved it.
The first chapter of this book is exceptional. We meet Gemma at the funeral of her chronically mentally ill mother. Gemma doesn't really know how to feel about this; which is understandable. She is of course sad about her mother's death, and sad about how she died, but at the same time she didn't really see her mum or know her properly as she was hospitalised for most of Gemma's life. I love Gemma's family, the circus performers that took her in as a child. They're so realistic and they obviously all care for her. The circus decides to settle in one area for a while which is fairly unusual. This means school. Gemma's best friends within the circus are thrilled with this but Gemma is less than happy with the arrangement, she enjoys her quiet circus life. However at school, she meets Henry. Her first friend outside of the circus, I really enjoy their banter-laden friendship and I wish that had carried on longer than it did. Gemma is a fantastic character. She's not an overly brave almost martyr-esque character like some we see, she's just a normal girl that's struggling to cope with the extraordinary situation she finds herself in which gradually gets worse and worse. She openly admits just wanting to go back to her normal life, and yet at the same time accepts that this isn't possible. She's not whiny in her musings, simply scared and resigned.
This plot is jam-packed. No seriously, EVERYTHING happens in this book. And yet Jenn writes so cleverly that you don't feel at all overwhelmed by this. The last quarter of the book I especially enjoyed; it involved exactly the kind of plot that I enjoy. The premise of the whole book was very unique and yet very classically representative of the genre.
My absolute favourite part of the book was the writing. I really love characters and plot but for me, the writing style makes the book. Maybe its my inner english lit student having her say? I loved loved loved Jenn's writing style. It definitely made the book that much more enjoyable for me, and I especially enjoyed the way she ended each chapter.
I would give this book a 4/5 and would highly recommend it. Please don't be put off by the fact this book is self-published because I promise it's a better book than some traditionally published books I've read.
Infact, if the premise intrigues you then keep your eyes peeled for a certain blog hop giveaway post coming on Sunday....