A high school girl discovers that she has superpowers and a world-saving destiny in this paranormal YA novel.
Faith McDaniels, a 17-year-old senior, is starting over in a new town. Her mother died three months ago; she never knew her father, and now her unsympathetic older brother, Eddie, makes the rules. Faith is visited in her dreams by an “exotic and perfect,” olive-skinned girl with a singsong voice, mysteriously offering to show Faith “the way.” One day, as Faith tries to enjoy some ordinary, adolescent mischief with old friends, she’s drawn into a strange new world. The dream-girl is there, along with a crowd of elders who say that they need Faith’s help: “Without it our worlds will be overtaken….Continue your mother’s legacy, be a protector of both our worlds.” Faith agrees and gets lessons in drawing energy—which she nicknames “En”—from living creatures and “translating” it, and herself, into different forms; meanwhile, her enemy wants to harvest all living energy for himself. He engineers a confrontation with Faith, using her friends, including the boy she loves, as hostages. What does he want from Faith? And will she be able to control her powers in time to save her friends, herself, and two worlds? In her fiction debut, Reynoso (Do You, 2013) draws on well-worn tropes in fantasy YA fiction: a teenager with magical abilities who’s fated to rescue humanity from a shadowy opponent; the same heroine presented with two romantic choices; and overwrought, high-octane emotions. Still, Reynoso writes about them vividly, offering some original, striking images. Faith’s dream visitor, for example, has “a pink hibiscus bush growing from the top of her head with one flower tucked behind her right ear, and her body is…painted to mimic a bold-print sarong.” Faith’s realistic friendships help anchor her and provide an effective contrast to the paranormal sections while also helping to establish what’s at stake. That said, the excessive use of hyphens sometimes distracts: “enough clarity in-the-moment, enough knowing right-from-wrong.”
A solid series opener that hits its genre marks while also providing colorful imagery.