Following the introduction of this place for dead people in Shadowlands (2012), the sequel focuses on Rory’s growing understanding of the nature of the island community of Juniper Landing and her place in it.
Handsome dudes Tristan and Joaquin could distract any 16-year-old, but Rory is amazingly obtuse, needing each piece of the puzzle explained explicitly. She’s a Lifer and will be joining Tristan, Joaquin and the others of Juniper Landing who don’t move on but help the newly dead go either to the Light or the Shadowlands. Still, there are oddities that she doesn’t explore, nor does the author explain, resulting in a mystery at the heart of the plot that is more irritating than intriguing. Many of the Lifers seem to blame Rory for the unnatural decay of flowers and plants, but why is any person to blame for this? Rory’s first-person narration is interspersed with unattributed third-person chapters, and as more and more goes awry, the interspersed narrative becomes increasingly disturbing. More appealing to readers who like to be surprised than those who like logic, this middle volume is all too focused on moving readers from the end of Book 1 to the beginning of Book 3. Even though Brian develops her world more fully, characters remain one-dimensional and bog down in trite romantic tropes.
Misses the mark. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)