My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Emily is miserable. Her and her mother have had to move because she’s a freak and set the science classroom on fire….from her hands. She lost all her friends and became a loner. Moving to what she thought was the imaginary town of Safety Beach, that her mum always told her about but she never thought it was actually real, isn’t her most favourite idea in the world. She just wants to wallow in sadness, and be her freaky self. As much as she had nothing left in her old town, she still thinks of it as home. Her new school is okay, everyone’s kinda weird though. She makes friends basically straight away with Chloe who dresses like the rich girl snobs, but is as far from it as anything could be. And Reece, Chloe’s long time neighbour who gets super angry when he gets drunk and seems to grow in size. For the most part, school is normal, but Emily doesn’t feel as much like the town freak here, if anything, she kinda fits in. So when her mum’s best friend (who also turned out to not be imaginary like Emily thought she was) is kidnapped and Emily seems to be the only one who witnessed it, she’s on a quest to get her back because, dammit, Maggie was nice, and she’s her mum’s only friend!! What follows is a story of self discovery as Emily realises she’s not as much of a freak as she first thought.
I really enjoyed this. And it seemed SO much longer than a novella. The story was so complete and well rounded, ending on a great note of “be yourself, and be proud of that person” kinda message, which I’m always a big fan of. I’d put this as a young adult urban fantasy, and you can bet your cotton socks that I’m intrigued about the series itself and am planning on diving into it (once my TBR pile is at an acceptable level, of course).
Emily is a likeable enough character, but I also got the feeling that she was incredibly naive. This added to the realism of the world and the story though. It’s glaringly obvious that there’s more to the students of Emily’s new school have more to them than meets the eye. But Emily being raised in a normal world surrounded by normal people, of course she’s going to try and explain it away with logic rather than just jump straight to the “SUPERNATURAL CREATURES ARE REAL!” thing. Though it was incredibly annoying to sit there and read this character constantly, for the entire story, trying to explain away the most obvious signs that she was seeing. Her new friend Reece even tried to broach the subject with her, but for whatever reason Chloe waved it off and changed the subject. I feel that a lot of pain and anguish and confusion could have been saved had Chloe just let Reece go for gold with his questions, but it’s not my story, and I guess it definitely added to the whole self discovery angle as well.
Chloe is an interesting character and I cannot WAIT to find out more about her backstory. We’ve had a slight glance into it, but I need to know more, I need to know why she is the way she is, and I need to know what the hell is up with the rich girl snob bitches who keep having a go at her whenever they seem to get a chance. Reece is also an interesting character, but more in the background of this story, there’s not as much mystery to him as there is to Chloe but he’s a nice support character.
The story itself is fast paced as it deals with a few different aspects. We have Emily, trying to ‘find’ herself, so to speak, she’s trying to fit in at a new school and not find herself in the same situation she was in at her last one, all the while dealing with the normal things that go with being a teenager. We also have the mystery of who the hell took Maggie and why does no one seem to care. Both of these parts of the story line run parallel to each other and combine quite well. There’s also the fall out of the friendship between Chloe and Emily after Emily freaks out. I feel like if your friends are screaming at you to just WAIT A DAMN MINUTE, you don’t run off into the forest away from them, but then, that’s just me. It did add to the story line and gave a chance for the dialogue to open up between Emily and her mother.
All in all, this was a great introduction into what promises to be a fast paced, YA urban fantasy series. I look forward to continuing and getting to know more about Emily, her world, her family, and her friends.