Two teens become drawn to each other after supernatural events send them searching for answers in this fast-paced romantic adventure by Drake (Assassin of Truths, 2018, etc.).
Seventeen-year-old Philadelphian Analiese—nicknamed “Ana”—knows something about death. Her parents passed away when she was 2, and she was adopted and raised by her aunt and uncle. Three months ago, her uncle died; he loved her and her cousin equally, and he taught Ana how to cope with her panic attacks. Now, just as he’s gone, Ana finds that she has need of his counsel. The strangeness starts in biology class, when a frog that Ana’s about to dissect suddenly comes back to life. Then an old man, a stranger, saves her from being struck by a car, resulting in his own fatal injury. As he lies dying, he entrusts Ana with his bag: “Take it to my grandson,” he says. “Don’t let anyone see you have it. You’re in danger, Analiese. Run. Don’t stop.” So begins an adventure that will change her life. How does the old man know her name? And can she trust his grandson, Marek Conte, as much as she’s attracted to him? Soon, the pair find themselves in Rome, falling for each other as they hunt down clues that Marek’s grandfather left behind—clues that will reveal the truth of how Ana’s parents died, and about Ana’s previously unknown powers. Drake writes from a first-person, present-tense perspective and imbues her narrator, Ana, with plenty of character. Ana’s proneness to panic attacks, for example, sits naturally within the story, serving no plot-relevant purpose but adding to her emotional depth. Her thoughts are suitably teenage in tone, but even when she finds herself objectifying Marek, Drake allows her the self-awareness to know that she’s edging towards cliché. The rollicking story rolls along nicely throughout, with plenty of moments of introspection. The various antagonists that the two encounter seem unaccountably enigmatic at times, but this is a minor quibble, as teen readers will join willingly in the chase.
An exuberant runaround, carried along by the heady rush of first love.