Friday, October 8, 2010

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (September 14, 2010)

Book summary: The first novel in an exciting new YA urban fantasy trilogy. Luc Cain enrolls in Frannie Cavanaugh's class, but what Frannie doesn't know is that Luc has been sent from hell to claim Frannie's soul.

My review: Personal Demons is one joyride of a read. There's lots of romance, hot guys, good vs. evil, and did I say hot guys? Main narrator Frannie is instantly attracted to the new guy, Luc, with his bad boy dark looks and sexy smile. But she also finds herself strangely attracted to the new blonde hottie, Gabe. What's a good hearted don't believe in love and God high school senior girl like Frannie to do?

Luc works for Acquisitions in Hell and his latest assignment is to "tag" Frannie so her soul belongs to Hell. Gabe is a Dominion, a powerful angel, sent to protect this golden girl and "tag" her for Heaven. Frannie is your average judo kicking rebel (who was kicked out of Catholic school for asking too many questions during religion class-okay) and one of five sisters named Mary (she's Mary Francis). She's also carrying around a ton of guilt over a certain family member's death. It seems Frannie has the Sight, seeing people die before it happens, and another ability called Sway where she can get others to do what she wants (Gabe says she's just like Moses and Hitler, hmm, still thinking about that one).

Yep, this book features yet another love triangle with the stereotypical bad/good guys pining over the girl, but I don't mind when they're well written and make sense. Figuring out who Frannie will ultimately decide on was easy, making it happen was a whole different story. We learn just how hard it is from Frannie's co-narrator, Luc. Hearing Luc's side of this paranormal romantic tale gave us insight into what he felt and how he changes when he falls in love with a human. I just thought it kinda funny to hear an old demon, say around 7,000 years old, act like a teenage guy. After all of those years he should sound meaner and more experienced, but since this fantasy reality has to be suspended for a while.

Both main characters gave the novel an easy going, humorous touch and Desrochers added some interesting spins to demon and angel lore. My complaints are minor: I did tire of reading about Luc's brimstone heart, Gabe's bright light, and how many times does a guy have to grip a girl's chin to make her look at him? I know it's hard describing certain actions without having them sound repetitive, but readers do pick up on them over time. My eyebrows also did a raised-up-in-the-air dance during a certain discussion between Fran and Gabe when he mentions she's so special, like Virgin Mary special, then he later  says he was joking. Another 'hmm, let's think on that' moment. Frannie was a hard character to actually like in the beginning and she was, at times, whiny. Her humor kept me reading.

Hmm moments aside, Personal Demons was refreshingly addicting, a compellingly quick read, and a welcome addition to the over crowded YA paranormal genre. Looking forward to the next installment.

Rating: +++1/2

Favorite excerpt: From page 193, ARC edition, Luc narrating.
     "I've never questioned an assignment before. It's not my place. Most mortals deserve what they get. But Frannie's different. I wasn't lying when I'd told her I'd never met anyone like her. She doesn't deserve that fate.

     I watch her bolt out of last-period government, and a big part of me wants to chase her down, wrap my arms around her, and make everything okay. But the truth is that there is no way for me to do that, because I'm what's not okay--me and my brethren. So I glue myself to the chair and watch her walk out of the door."

Cover comment: I almost mistook this for an adult contemporary urban fantasy (and that might be intentional on the marketing side). I'm not sure I buy into Frannie's look here with the emphasis placed on her Catholic upbringing. It's ok but more colorful than the original cover art.

Book source: Around the World tours


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  2. I've been wanting to tread this book so bad! Thanks for the review :)