Dark matter is imagined as an alternate universe, existing in an uneasy symbiosis with reality in this intriguing but overlong paranormal romance.
Keira, a talented pianist, dreams of escaping her small Maine town and her perpetually arguing parents. Her relentless focus on music leaves little time for other pursuits, including boys, so she is as much apprehensive as electrified when she meets the charismatic Walker. She’s also horrified when, soon after their encounter, she begins seeing strange things—first just an unusual piece of fruit on the kitchen counter that disappears when she tries to touch it, but soon, they are larger and more elaborate visions that eventually cannot be ignored. Keira’s smart, witty third-person voice provides balance for the somewhat goofy premise, and she’s a refreshingly strong character, even as she’s inexorably drawn to Walker. (She exclaims at one point, “But I don’t like being the kind of girl who needs a guy to save her.”) However, it’s obvious from the onset that there is some kind of otherworldly force pulling them toward each other, and the question of exactly why drags on too long.
Still, the conclusion is a satisfying one that cleverly works in her musical ability, and readers with a penchant for the genre will enjoy both the tortured romance and its eventual resolution. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)