ALETHEA by Jesse Arnold

ALETHEA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this action-oriented debut thriller, a teenage girl suffers grievous injuries only to later discover that she has superpowers.

Sixteen-year-old Alethea is a superstar gymnast whose highly disciplined training has given her a cold, emotionally restrained manner. Unfortunately, her years of preparation for the Olympics come to naught when she’s in a traumatic car accident. She spends her recovery fending off the probing questions of psychiatrist Dr. Allen; she also tries to discover what it means to be a normal teenage girl, as she starts dating popular boy Chad. However, after a home invasion forces her to fight for her life, she discovers that she isn’t normal after all—she has superpowers. Specifically, she has superior strength, speed and stamina, as well as the ability to quickly recover from injuries, and she soon uses these traits to fight off otherworldly monsters that are invading her Michigan hometown. However, Dr. Allen still won’t leave her alone, and Alethea starts to wonder: Is she really a superhuman fighting evil monsters, or is it all just a hallucination caused by traumatic events? The answers are often confusing, frequently frustrating and occasionally compelling. Arnold offers a refreshing protagonist who’s not only a tough, strong girl, but also fully aware that she’s not very likable. Alethea’s attitude will appeal to readers who are sick of Bella Swan–like pushovers and hungry for darker, angrier heroines. And dark this story most certainly is: The number of pages devoted to torture (both psychological and physical), murder, rape and other unpleasant events may make it inappropriate for many young readers. Although it’s not a book one would want to curl up with before sleep, fans of dark, twisted genre fiction may find themselves absorbed in the mysteries of Alethea’s world and deeply invested in her fight to unravel them.

A deeply disturbing look at one girl’s battle with an assortment of demons.

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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