In this series opener from the author of the Paranormalcy trilogy, two strong-willed sisters struggle to free themselves from a sinister organization that grooms girls with paranormal abilities to serve twisted, illegal ends.
Two years after their parents’ deaths, the Keane School foundation offered to house and educate Annie and Fia. Sighted Fia—knowing their reluctant caregiver was attracted by the free ride and that Annie, blind, longed for educational opportunities—acquiesced, setting aside her suspicions about the foundation’s hidden agenda. For five years the coldly manipulative staff has controlled the girls by holding each hostage against the other. Though Annie’s clairvoyant visions interest them, Fia’s gift for making successful choices is more valuable. Scarred and toughened by brutal conditioning, the girls fight back; their unwavering mutual devotion brightens the dark tale. Annie’s a rounded, co-equal protagonist, not merely an extension of her disability. (Yes, she’s magically gifted, but so are the disability-free female characters, and like them, she has flaws.) While she uses the prejudice blindness evokes in sighted people to gain unique access to Keane’s powerbrokers, Fia, more damaged, is forced to serve its ends by the founder’s handsome son, James, charismatic and equally damaged. The flashback-heavy narration, initially confusing, proves effective, constructing a temporal mosaic that holds readers’ interest and builds suspense as events come into focus.
An effective paranormal thriller, even in this crowded market. (Paranormal thriller. 12 & up)