Derting (The Offering, 2013, etc.) kicks off a new series about a teen softball star who disappears one night after the big game and returns five years later with no memory of where she’s been.
The book is separated into two distinct halves. Character drives the first half as Kyra reassembles the pieces of her life and discovers that family and friends have moved on with their own. The second half pokes around the greater mystery of where Kyra’s been by turning the book into a plot-point machine and setting up a larger universe that will surely be explored in coming installments. The book’s strength lies more in the first half than the second, as Kyra and her family cope with the extraordinary circumstances thrust upon them. Just as they’ve begun to heal, Kyra comes back to rip open their wounds with riveting and heartbreaking results that the author explores with great success. Less successful is Kyra’s romance with the boy across the street, Tyler, who is defined solely by his dreamy smile and steadfast dedication to doing whatever Kyra wants him to do. Their romance marks the book’s low point, but the author ends on a high note with conspiracies, underground rebel networks and spooky government agencies.
A solid mix of domestic drama and sci-fi absurdity, this series opener provides a promising start that intrigues as well as it entertains. (Science fiction. 14-18)