Reviews for Awakening, by Wendy Corsi Staub
two and a half really, because the serial-killer-want-to-come-kill-calla plot seemed a bit forced and melodramatic. and yet, i am feeling nice. and, i'm quite looking forward to reading the rest of the series, and that has to count for a lot.
I debated in writing this review tell the really good part first or the really bad? I opted to go with the positive. A teen paranormal suspense series does not sound like my kind of title. However, I was engrossed by the story and the writing- even staying up late to finish (and regretting it the next day at work). The book takes place primarily in Lily Dale, a real place in upstate NY that is the home of spiritualism. After Calla’s mother dies, she ends up in Lily Dale with her grandmother while her father finds them a place to live. Calla finds out that in this place her grandmother’s clairvoyant gifts (which she never knew about before) are accepted, in fact are quite common among the residents. She at first rejects the paranormal incidents but over time recognizes that she shares them. There is a fair bit of teen angst in the “does he like me?” or “why doesn’t he like me” vein. Some of the plot turnings are predictable, but the author handles the plot like a pro striptease- showing a little leg, pulling back, then a shoulder, then covering up. Keeps the reader engaged.
Now for the bad- this is half of a book. That stinks. I understand that this is the beginning of a series but it is unfair that there is no real resolution of the primary mystery/story line. Sure we know that Calla wants to make contact with her Mom, the author can delay that to another book. But whether her mother was murdered and why her mother and grandmother became estranged deserves to be resolved. If I had read this when I was younger I would boycott the rest of the series because of the lack of resolution for critical story arcs. Even in Harry Potter, the primary crisis is addressed in each book (except maybe 6 and 7). The negative makes me hesitant to recommend what is otherwise a very good early teen read.
It's not all bad but it just wasn't for me. I can't stand main characters who just do things for the plot rather than for any real internal reason.