About Me

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was sold to gypsies as a small child for half a tank of gas and a kitten. She was quickly, if not easily, retrieved by her mother after the kitten was revealed to be an Eldrich horror looking for a ride into the nearest metropolitan area to begin wreaking havoc. It's been a bone of contention between Maria and her family ever since, whether the Horror-kitten would've been more or less trouble than she grew up to be.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: After Obsession

The first of the TAC11 books.
From Goodreads:
Aimee and Alan have secrets. Both teens have unusual pasts and abilities they prefer to keep hidden. But when they meet each other, in a cold Maine town, they can't stop their secrets from spilling out. Strange things have been happening lately, and they both feel that something-or someone- is haunting them. They're wrong. Despite their unusual history and powers, it's neither Aimee nor Alan who is truly haunted. It's Alan's cousin Courtney who, in a desperate plea to find her missing father, has invited a demon into her life-and into her body. Only together can Aimee and Alan exorcise the ghost. And they have to move quickly, before it devours not just Courtney but everything around her.

The Good:

After Obsession is a 1st-person, present-tense point of view novel with alternating narrators.  There is nothing in that sentence that would indicate how much I would come to love this book by the end.

Steven Wedel and Carrie Jones handle what could have been a very cliche plot beautifully. A new student and the local weirdo join forces to save the town. But Alan, a normally confident albeit offbeat young athlete, is treading carefully in a new and uncomfortable situation with all the trepidation and insecurity that comes with being a teenager. Aimee balances on a precarious ledge, being the daughter of a 'crazy' mother and having more than a few secrets she has no one to share with. The voicing on the part of both writers is familiar enough to draw readers in, while their situations are unusual enough to keep readers engaged to the end.

The writing on the part of both authors manages to be youthful without feeling shallow or overbearing, and with each author taking on a narrator for themselves, Aimee and Alan's internal dialogs are subtly, but obviously, different. While Carrie Jones had a few moments of what I call "Teen-Speak" - trying a little too hard to sound like a teenager - they were few and far between, and thankfully didn't take me out of the story.

For a small book, there's a wide cast of characters, and given the length, I thought they were reasonably well explored. The parents and teachers especially were enjoyable, as they interacted with Aimee and Alan. I do wish the teachers had had more to do. I feel like the adults needed their own prequel of sorts to explain some of their idiosyncrasies.

Most of all, I loved how they handled the horror. It creeps up on the reader and grows magnificently. Honestly, I could not put this book down once I started reading.

The Bad:

I really don't have much of anything bad to say about this. There are a few things I wish had been done a little differently(longer) or had been featured more prominently(the teachers are cool; more please), but there was nothing that negatively impacted my enjoyment of this book.

Except maybe the cover.

Tell me that she doesn't have man-hands. And the torso looks out of proportion with the head and arms. Does anyone else see this? Anyone? I love the ambiance of the cover. I think it suits the tone of the book perfectly, but - man-hands.

The Rest:

While at times the plot was predictable, I still felt uneasy and fearful at all the right places. I liked and sympathized with the characters. While I was reading, I was totally and utterly absorbed. This book is short, sweet, and scary.

And for those readers who are wary of paranormal romances in this age of vampire and fallen angel lovers, fear not; After Obsession is 100% free of mythical paramours. A welcome relief, I know.

Final Thoughts:

As a fan of YA and a life-long lover of the paranormal, I loved this book. It had that wonderful vibe of good old horror movies like The Exorcist and The Haunting of Hill House; anything that can push my Shirley Jackson button gets an automatic A. I would strongly recommend this book to fans of the paranormal and ghost stories, as well as to fans of Stephen King who want that scare without the grit, gore, and pulp, or to horror aficionados working their way up to the Fright Master.

Also, I really really want a sequel. Please? Pretty please?

My Rating: 5/5  Mushrooms

Release Date: September 13, 2011

Don't Stop Creepin'
- Maria

1 comment:

Maria D'Isidoro said...

As a post script for anyone who cares, I absolutely suck at explaining sufficiently why I love something. If I hate it, I can tell you in great and exacting detail why I thought it absolutely sucked, but if I like something, I completely lack the ability to articulate why. This frequently leads to me shoving loved books and movies in the faces of friends and family, squeeling at them to check it out now now NOW.