Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Date: November 2009
Page Count: 330
THAT IS THE ANONYMOUS MESSAGE that Beth Michaels receives right before she starts seeing things. Not just a slept-through my-alarm-clock, late-for-homeroom, haven't had-my-caffeine-fix kind of seeing things. It all starts with some dots, annoying pink dots that pop up on and over her mom and her best friend's face. But then things get out of control and Beth is seeing people's pasts, their fears, their secrets, their desires. The images are coming at Beth in hi-def streaming video and she can't stop it. Everyone thinks she's crazy and she's pretty sure she agrees with them. But crazy doesn't explain the gold envelopes that have started arriving, containing seeing keys and mysterious tarot cards. To Beth, it all seems too weird to be true. You are more than you think you are? But here's the thing: What if she is?
BOOK REVIEW: I started reading this book with high hopes. I've read some really terrific YA paranormal and fantasy novels lately and figured with jacket copy this intriguing, it had to be great. After I completed it, I didn't think so. I found RAYS hard to get into. The premise--a teen develops this strange ability and it has to do with these small envelopes she receives--sounded promising, but I found more questions were raised than answered for me. First of all, the novel begins with Beth, our main character, in a confidential teen voice, first person, and very, very personal. Then another chapter shifts to a different character, third person. The shift in voice and place took me out of Beth's part. I knew, somehow, this person would meet up with Beth, but then new people were introduced in the same way, throughout the story for a total of seven different people in third person. I found I never really got back to where I had been when I first began.
As a writer I thought it was a cool device, but after finishing the book I felt it took too much away from the reading experience. I wanted to like Beth. She was smart, funny, had issues with herself, but I couldn't connect with her. As for her boyfriend, Richie, he was okay. I didn't really understand why he had feelings for Beth, except for what happened to him physically when they kissed and she transferred some of her power to him. I thought he gave up too easily at the end for a guy so hooked on a girl. The other characters suffered the same plight as Richie--they weren't developed enough. We were only given caricatures of each one.
It's sad when I enter into a book with high expectations and finish with them dashed. The cover art was great and the jacket copy intriguing. I still believe the premise of the story was interesting, just not explained thoroughly. At times there was too much description and the plot had holes which were never answered. The ending was abrupt and made me go "huh?" Is this a series? I'm not sure. If it is, I may borrow the next one from the library.
SERIES: Not sure.
FOR FANS OF: Paranormal, fantasy.
REVIEWED BY: Laurie
BOOK SOURCE: Borrowed.