A teenage boy learns that the power to steal people’s innermost feelings is both a blessing and curse.
For generations, 17-year-old Aspen Quick’s family has conducted a secret ritual to keep the cliff hanging over their small town from falling: they use a special power to “reach” inside people, steal their memories, desires, fears, talents, and physical attributes, and feed them to the cliff. Smart, cocky, and confident, Aspen doesn’t think twice about also using this power to influence strangers and friends for his personal gain. But no amount of magic can bring Aspen’s Chinese-American mom back after his parents split up. And when Aspen’s friends Brandy and Theo join him at his grandmother’s house for the summer, the biracial teen learns that “reaching” isn’t the only secret his family has been keeping. Ultimately, Aspen must decide how far he’s willing to go to get what he wants. The novel’s complex characters and family drama pull readers in from the first page. Ribar balances weighty moral dilemmas with the unusual adventures of a teen who has the power to manipulate those around him. Flashback chapters chronicling Aspen’s younger years are interspersed throughout the story, to good effect. Fast-paced and unpredictable, the plot seamlessly balances a summer romance with well-crafted paranormal suspense.
A fresh and substantive story about family, love, and deciding who you want to be in the world. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)