I won a box of these books for my book club not too long ago! They came with exclusive short stories and a letter from the author! And I actually didn’t realize until starting the book, that each book is signed too! How cool is that?
I had mixed feelings going into this one because I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews for it. Also, it’s not the most enticing story based off of the description on the back of the cover. However, it worked as a perfect book club book because none of us had to work hard to find it! And well, we had a lot of fun discussion with this one! It’s also really nice to write a review for a book I know I have fully discussed to it’s max with a group of wonderful, avid readers who have all shared their own great insight.
The story is all about Wren, someone who is used to not getting what she wants. She has this really intense power inside her that she knows nothing about. She has an affect on light-bulbs and other sources of energy. She has seen her mom do some pretty amazing things (like make plants grow when they are not supposed to), but her mother has never really talked about what she and her daughters can do. Actually, she refuses to talk about it at all.
Her mother also gives her daughters no information about their father. Wren doesn’t know if he died or if he left. And while Wren is able to beg bare hints of answers from her aunt, she has to do this on the down low because her mom and her aunt had a bit of a falling out. All Wren knows is that she is strong and capable of things that no one else is. So when her boyfriend (love of her life) dies in a drunk driving accident, Wren feels it’s in her power to be able to do something about bringing him back.
Wren sort of backs away from everyone when Danny dies. She refuses to hang out with her friends. She barely talks to her mother or sister. And she focuses and spends her time researching a spell. The only thing though is as soon as her hard work pays off, and Wren brings Danny back, it’s clear that what she did was wrong and that this Danny is not the same as the one she fell in love with.
For starters, Wren has almost complete control of him. She tells him to stay in a garage and he does. She tells him to sleep when she leaves him to go to school, and he sleeps. He even tells her at one point that he can’t think when she is not there. Yet, he has all of Danny’s memories. He draws pictures. And he loves Wren.
Then, Gabriel enters the picture. He’s new at Wren’s school and immediately comes to like her even though she does nothing but push him away. Gabriel has some power too. And he’s able to figure out what Wren has done without her even telling him. With the help of her friends, Wren comes to realize the size of the mistake she has made and the more the book progresses and Wren’s life continues, the more she knows she’s going to have to say goodbye to Danny again. Plus, it helps that Gabriel is warm and well, not dead.
This book is full of spells, magic, family mystery, romance, death, grief, friendship, and growing up. Wren’s character has a lot of growing up to do and a lot of loss to deal with. Danny (live and dead) was such an interesting, amazing character! And he was nothing like any zombies I have really seen before. He was more like a ghost then a zombie to me. I loved reading all the flashback and memories of Danny and Wren’s relationship.
I like that Wren grows with her mistake. And I really liked her friends who were pissed at her for acting so secluded and never let her get away with all her self-doubt. I have so many questions though. There are so many unanswered questions about Wren’s abilities and about her family. Why is Wren stronger than all the other magical people she eventually meets? Why is Gabriel there? Seriously, my book club and I were talking about just how convenient he was for everything. Wren never has to admit to her mistake out loud because he just knows. And he just does everything she needs even though she treats him so poorly! We were talking about possible double agent side stories (though we might have gotten a bit carried away).
I didn’t like that I never really knew Gabriel’s personality. He was just this sort of necessary anchor for Wren. But, I got to know all of Danny’s likes and dislikes and I got to see how his and Wren’s relationship worked. I never really felt like I knew Gabriel.
My one big issue with the book though was the mother. Her daughter was holding up in her room forever, and the mom never thought to question things? Seriously, her daughter needed help. And then Wren would just show up at midnight without her mother noticing, even when her mother was awake. And her mother knew she was lying but never questioned things like why Wren was always coming home in the middle of the night or why Wren was hanging out with friends who never came over to their house.
I really came to think that Wren was just repeating all the same mistakes of her mother, or at least making mistakes in large part because of her mother. Her mother never explained to her how to harness or control her powers. She never taught her what she could and could not do. And then when Wren seriously need psychological help, her mother pretty much ignored her most of the time. She had no one to go to when her boyfriend died and then she had no one to go to when he came back.
Any way, this book was not exactly what I was expecting it be. It was a fun, fast, and easy to read. It’s about a girl doing something not so unbelievable in a desperate moment. The pace was excellent. The characters (minus Gabriel and the mom) were really believable. It was mostly just an interesting idea that Garvey did a good job writing about. It’s not my favorite, but I did have a lot of fun reading it! I think I will end up getting to the sequel at some point because I want to know if all my questions get answered! This gets a 7/10.