There’s not a lot that Ember is certain about except that she barely survived a horrific car accident, and her passenger did not.
After emergency surgery followed by eight months in a hospital, 17-year-old Ember arrives home with many visible scars, but the most troubling are those that don’t show. Her memory is fragmented; some of her recollections of the crash and of her life before that fateful night are jumbled, while others are simply missing. She scans her bedroom for clues and finds a business card for a dance club called Areacode. In hopes it will shake loose a memory, Ember takes the subway to the club, where she meets Kai, a handsome, engaging artist to whom she is instantly drawn. Not wanting to worry her overprotective parents—or be hassled by them—Ember keeps their growing relationship under wraps. Something about the electrifying and elusive Kai allows Ember to be herself, to feel alive and ready to pursue her own dreams. Readers will feel right at home with the dialogue; sarcasm, glee and angst are spoken in pitch-perfect teenagese. That the story’s emotional currents are weaker than the engaging narrative is no matter; Ember’s unraveling of the mystery is compelling enough to keep the pages turning quickly and steadily.
The startling conclusion itself is worth the ride, and chances are that readers’ “aha” moment won’t come any sooner than Ember’s. (Mystery. 12 & up)