Author: Gena Showalter (site)
Published: September 1st, 2009 by Harlequin
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Price: $8.55 Book Depository $9.99 Amazon
Series: Intertwined #1
Synopsis: There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High . . .
Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:
One can time-travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can tell the future.
And one can possess another human.
With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now, they’re causing him all kinds of trouble.
Like, he’ll blink and suddenly he’s a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he’ll change the future. Or, he’ll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she’s going to die.
He’s so over it. All he wants is peace.
And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, for as long as he’s with her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He’s a loner; she has friends. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake, he should stay away. But it’s too late. . .
Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifter who wants Mary Ann for his own and a vampire princess Aden can’t resist. Two romances, both forbidden. . . doomed. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger. . . but not everyone will come out alive. . . (Goodreads)
Initial Thoughts: I was initially attracted to this one because of it's cover, then because of the positive reviews I kept seeing. At first skim, I thought this was just about a boy with schizophrenia. however, once I realized that there really were people trapped inside of him, I was hooked. Why did it take me so long to read it? For one thing, the synopsis does not do it justice. For another, I'm usually a bit leery about reading YA debuts written by romance authors. (Although I'm really starting to rethink that bias.)
Review: First off, whoever thought of this title was a genius. It was absolutely perfect for the story. My only qualm is that the cover didn't really feel very Aden. Showalter did a fantastic job of making her main character feel authentic. I figured that a romance author trying to write from a teenage boy's POV would probably be awkward (especially after reading Infinity-but we'll get to that in the next review.), but she really did a great job. As far as I know, of course, since I'm not a boy. But I was never stopped by an awkward bit of slang or overly touchy-feely thought. That's not to say that he wasn't a bit more sincere and romantic than I tend to picture the teenage boys of today, but it felt realistic. I also loved the main female character. There was definitely a Say Anything vibe there. Slightly nerdy, very pretty, extremely motivated girl falls for a boy she shouldn't. I loved it. The story is split into two for a while in the middle, with smaller storylines for each main character branching, but everything comes together about 2/3 of the way through. I LOVED that there were two love stories here, it almost felt like two novels in one. It would have been even better if the vampire hadn't been such a horrible character. She just felt so one-dimensional. Starts off cold, but really she's just a sweet girl in need of rescue. It felt very....done. However, the other romantic interest more than made up for it. In order to preserve the element of surprise, I won't give many details about who-ends-up-with-who. However, I will say that I LOVED the story about the werewolf bodyguard's brothers. I would love love love to see a spin-off series about their curse. There was so much going on outside of the book, the world felt so much fuller than what we were seeing. I wonder if this story is set in the world that she places her romances in or if she just built all of this up for this series. For instance, we barely scratch the surface of the vampire world and all of its politics.
Why This Book Didn't Get Five Stars: About 2/3 of the way through the book, there is a major revelation that feels like a perfect ending for the book.... and then it goes on for another 50-100 pages. The pace of the story was great, up until this point. Then there's a major climax, followed by a dull period, followed by a completely different Big Event. I don't mind lots of ups and downs in a book, but it felt like this one should have ended after the first big climax. The aftermath just felt really awkward. Also, the second Big Event felt very rushed and surreal. It was a very unexpected twist, which I like, but it also felt a bit cheesy. Afterwards, I just kept thinking, "Really?" I mean, where are they going to go from here? It felt very Anita Blake-and not in a good way. It's really a testament to how amazing the rest of the book was that this one didn't get thrown across the room after this bit.
Quick Review: A very well-written story with plenty of plot twists, very likeable characters, and lots of room to grow. There were a few weak characters and the pace was a bit unsteady towards the end, but otherwise a very strong first (YA) novel. I would definitely recommend.
Sequel: Unraveled (Came out August 31, 2010)