In this charming teen adventure, a 16-year-old holds center stage for the unfolding of an ancient mystery.
Addie Flamma is a blessed teenager—though a glimpse at her life might suggest otherwise. A foster child, she lives on Mrs. Mae’s farm with her brothers, Nathan, Liam and Samuel, who, despite their tragic backgrounds, are each uniquely wonderful. Among them, only Addie has no idea how she came to be orphaned. She also suffers from a strange slew of illnesses—psoriasis, asthma, fibromyalgia, epilepsy—for which she must take dozens of pills. Nevertheless, she faces life triumphantly. A love for musicals, Latin and charitable deeds keeps her afloat, and determination to become a successful adult fills her life with school and volunteer work. One fateful day, when she forgets to prepare for a high school chemistry presentation, she has a seizure in class. She wakes under the care of Dr. Asa Olympics, who prescribes a single miraculous extract from the African “ashes of life” plant. Later, volunteering at the homeless shelter, Addie encounters a strapping youth whose eyes burn red at her touch. Could this boy—and her new medicine—be related to her recurring dream of being caressed by flame? Debut author Guy answers this question (and several that flow from it) with transporting detail and energy. When Addie is chosen to attend the exclusive Greek Academy, the narrative leaps from pedestrian to glamorous. Colorful motifs abound, and Guy relishes in description: “My door was painted a brilliant red like that of a rose….The doorknob was a crystal pink flower.” Samuel intriguingly warns Addie that it’s all too good to be true, especially after she lands a juicy role in her favorite musical. Her positivity, meanwhile, can sometimes go from infectious to inane, though as Addie says, “I’ll go crazy [in foster care] if I don’t look on the bright side.” More distracting is the narrative’s wordiness, since Guy rarely serves dialogue free of Addie’s rambunctious thoughts. In the end, though, a daring cliffhanger will leave readers dazzled.
A sprightly, impressively plotted mystery steeped in mythological twists.