44 by Jools Sinclair
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Abby Craigers drowned in a frozen lake and was pronounced dead for forty four minutes before miraculously returning to life. There is a strange side effect to her rebirth, however, she can only see in black and white--save the colors of the "emotional auras" of the people around her.
The easy, breezy prose, and swift pacing marks this as young adult novel with a clear voice. Abby is a broken protagonist, who has lost her old friends, her star spot on the school soccer team and is struggling in her relationship with her best friend, and possible love interest, Jesse. Regular hospital checkups and psychiatric evaluations mark Abby's days but this depression only serves to paint the canvas of Abby's character, and does not drown the reader in histrionics.
The plot moves at a lightning pace, and is a bit of a familiar one. I think by this point we are all familiar with serial killers, and psychic dreams, and heroines no one believes. Abby confides in her sister, an up and coming reporter who is drowning in trivial small town stories. Abby is having dreams of murders before they happen, and her sister is upon each and every story. Together, the girls set upon investigating the murders themselves and with all the pluck and vigor of classic detective sleuths. A little boy trouble thrown into the mix doesn't hurt proceedings any.
I found this read fun and refreshing, if a bit light. I would have liked to have had a richer sense of surrounding with Abby's color-blind affliction. I was disappointed at an apparent "blooper" in the prose where Abby describes in 1st person the sight of a pink dessert box, which should have been impossible for her to do. (Unless the dessert box was emitting some sort of emotional aura, which would make an entirely different sort of story all together!)
I did find Abby and Kate spunky and likable enough to worry about their welfare, which is always a good thing.
There are no scenes of excessive violence, cursing, or sex. Although, Abby deals with the pains of love, it is not poured all over each page with the smothering treacle that many young adult novels seem to have these days. It really does make a great choice for a super picky parent overseeing their child's reading material.
As this book is the first of a series, the ending does leave off rather abruptly with a hook for more and I must say I won't mind taking a peek at future volumes.
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