Stacey’s junior year at boarding school isn’t easy. She’s not the most popular girl at school, or the smartest, or the prettiest. She’s got a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend, and an even darker secret that threatens to ruin her friendships for good.And now she’s having nightmares again. Not just any nightmares – these dreams are too real to ignore, like she did three years ago. The last time she ignored them, a little girl died. This time they’re about Drea, her best friend who’s become the target of one seriously psycho stalker.
It started with weird e-mails and freaky phone calls. Now someone’s leaving Drea white lilies – the same death lilies that have been showing up in Stacey’s dreams. Everybody thinks it’s just a twisted game . . . until another girl at school is brutally murdered.
There are no witnesses. Worst of all, no one has a perfect alibi. With everyone as a potential suspect, Stacey turns to the one secret weapon she can trust – the folk magic taught to her by her grandmother. Will Stacey’s magic be strong enough to expose the true killer, or will the killer make her darkest nightmares come true?
It worked for me as a supernatural thriller, not so much as a YA novel.
As a protagonist, Stacey left much to be desired, at least for me. I felt the book didn’t dig deep enough, and that’s why I’m not picking up the next book; I don’t see anything that tells me that Stolarz does dig deeper in the next book.
Thomas Quicksilver, known to his classmates as “Pucker,” has always been an outsider. His crazy mother, the secret of his family’s strange origins, and above all, the terrible scars on his face from a childhood fire—these things have kept Thomas isolated and alone. Now, at seventeen, a quest to save his dying mother takes Thomas back to his birthplace, an alternate world called Isaura from which he and his mother were exiled years earlier. In Isaura, Thomas’s scars will be magically healed. He will fall in love for the first time. And he will face a devastating, impossible choice.
I like that the author doesn’t go the self-pity route with Thomas.
I do find it rather curious in that Pucker reads like a short story, despite being novel-length. Part of it has to do with the ending. While the ends are tied up, it wasn’t a very satisfying ending.
Isaura…was boring. Mostly because I think not enough effort was put into the worldbuilding.
I think none of the characters paid a high enough price for the Ever afters, but that’s a personal preference.
Reason Cansino has lived fifteen years in the Australian outback with her mother: Sarafina. They’re on the run from Reason’s grandmother Esmeralda, who believes in magic and practices horrifying dark rituals. But when Sarafina suffers a mental breakdown, Reason is sent to the one place she fears most–Esmeralda’s home in Sydney.
Nothing about the house or Esmeralda is what Reason expected. Then, when she walks through Esmeralda’s back door in Sydney and finds herself on a New York City street, Reason is forced to face the shocking truth. Magic is real. And Reason is magic.
Magic or Madness doesn’t live up to the visceral impact of the blurb’s first line, unfortunately, but it is a pretty good debut novel.
I felt that Reason comes off a little younger than her given age of fifteen, though this might be deliberate on the author‘s part. Growing up glued to your mother’s side can’t be too good for your maturity.
I don’t usually like it when authors switch between third and first POVs, but the author carries it off quite well.
I like the worldbuilding–I’ll give you a clue: see title. In this, however, I’m admittedly biased because it fits the way I think so well.