Wednesday, April 10, 2013

YA book review: 44 by Jools Sinclair

44 (44 #1) by Jools Sinclair
YA paranormal*ebook, 158 pages
Published March 10th 2011 by You Come Too Publishing (first published January 1st 2010)

Last year after falling through the ice, seventeen-year-old Abby Craig woke up from death - but she woke into a world she barely recognizes. She can't see colors, memories have been erased, and her friends all hate her. And then there's Jesse, who she loves, but who refuses to forgive her the one mistake she made long ago.

Just when she thinks it can't get any worse, the visions begin. In them, she sees a faceless serial killer roaming the streets. While the police believe that there have been a lot of accidents in town lately, Abby knows differently. And she soon realizes that it's up to her to find him. But to stop him, she'll have to confront more than just the killer. She'll have to face something else that was lost in those dark waters: the truth.

For forty-four minutes Abby Craig was declared dead from a drowning incident. When she awakens, she is changed. Undoubtedly, anyone would be changed by such a life-and-death experience, but Abby suffers from memory loss, headaches, and she is now color blind. Her friends have abandoned her and she has to learn how to function with these new additions in her life. Then life intensifies even more when the strange visions begin. Visions of death. Of murder.

"I shuddered at the thought of those hands wrapped around her ankles, the pounding of her fists on the ceramic.
"These really aren't dreams, are they?" she asked.
"No," I said."

44 is an intense and suspenseful read. Jools Sinclair did a commendable job creating a dream-like quality to Abby's story. Abby narrates in first person past tense but during the dreams her narration turns to present tense which really helps increase the tension. The loss of color in her world creates a fascinating dynamic and had me trying to visualize the crisp world as Abby sees it. There were some truly thrilling moments in this book. It would have been easy for Abby to give in to her frustration at her new life and stay in bed all day. Abby confides in her older sister Kate who helps her. Since they live together, I'm happy the siblings had a good relationship. Soon it's apparent these visions belong to a serial killer and he will know about Abby as well. Kate is a journalist and does her best to help Abby figure out what's going on. As they go about solving the crimes, Abby tries to patch her friendship with her best friend Jesse who has also changed since the accident. I liked how he called her "Craigers." When she reveals her visions to him, Jesse tells her not to tell anyone, especially her shrink, Dr. Krowe. The townspeople of Bend also seem to know who she is after the accident. Very strange and creepy. As the story rushes to an exciting conclusion, there's a shocking major twist which will remain in my mind forever. 

I felt some parts of the story needed more development, definitely more description and the dialogue didn't ring true at times. Even with these concerns, I still enjoyed the story. 44 is a haunting tale and one I won't soon forget.

Rating: 3.5

Cover comment:
This cover does the story a disservice. I'm not trying to sound mean, I just think this is a dreadful cover. Too purplish, the snow capped mountain and the floating head gives it a comical touch. The typeface doesn't work either. Awful.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy and also purchased as a freebie for the Kindle.

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