Chameleon by Zoe Kalo
Word count: 55,000
Release date: February 2017
An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…
Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
Chameleon by Zoe Kalo is an intriguing read featuring a teen protagonist who can see spirits and has a tendency to get in trouble. Paloma, 17, is supposed to graduate from high school at the end of the school year, but her mouth and actions get her kicked out. Her stepfather decides it's time for her to receive a 'serious' education, along with some much-needed respect, and takes her to a convent school. For a girl accustomed to wearing her own threads and make-up, having to give up these things for a uniform and a 'natural' look is quite an adjustment. But blending in with everyone is the least of Paloma's problems.
There are spooks, some psychosis, a group of interesting friends, and quite the mix of nuns. A solitary building, individuals with secrets, an angsty group of girls, a heroine who likes to hold seances, these things certainly combine together in this entertaining read. I liked how Kalo set her story in El Yunque, the rain forest of Puerto Rico. The author's rich descriptions created a creepy atmosphere very fitting for this story. The addition of the waterfall and Paloma's pull to it was a nice eerie touch.
As for the MC, it took me awhile to trust and like Paloma. The story started off a bit slow. Once the pace picked up, Chameleon became an engrossing read. I would've liked to have seen Paloma's seance and her getting into trouble at the very beginning. This might've helped me sympathize and connect with her sooner. The ending seemed rushed and ended quickly which threw me off so I wonder if Paloma's story will continue.
Cover comment: Typical YA girl in dress
Book source: I received an ARC in return for my honest review.