McClendon’s debut is a supernatural adventure about teens fighting outward manifestations of their own inner demons.
When her father dies, teenage Anniver realizes that she will never be able to apologize. Not only did they fight over Anniver’s desire to join the police, but she feels guilty for his death. So when his spirit shows up after the funeral, Anniver has a chance to make amends—except, alas, this spirit is actually a monster trying to kill her. When another teen with magical powers comes to help, he ushers her into a secret world of supernatural forces and would-be world saviors. And the world needs saving: More and more of these evil beings and strange occurrences are popping up (like dead people who look like they’ve fallen from great heights when there are no tall buildings around). Along the way, we meet several other team members, each with his or her own supernatural specialties (like the kid with the electrokinetic powers) and his or her own guilt and anger. Can this team of unlikely heroes heal their personal traumas and help fight off the baddies? There’s a lot of charm in this thrill-packed adventure and some moves toward weighty topics, such as guilt and trauma. Unfortunately, it’s hard to take these characters seriously since their interactions tend to come off as campy melodrama. A monster may get away with yelling “Insolent humans!” but a journalist who witnesses something supernatural sounds stilted when noting “what happened here has just completely destroyed everything we thought that was real and fake.” Similarly, McClendon has a tendency to overuse adverbs; for example, a character won’t simply brag but will do so “arrogantly.”
Fun supernatural adventure ideas, but the execution is a little stilted.