Debut author Etienne’s novel tells the story of Faye Robson, a 16-year-old girl plagued by mysterious “episodes” and shipped off to Holbrook Academy by her parents, ostensibly for her own good.
Thus betrayed by her family, Faye quickly connects with a small group of fellow students, bound together by mysterious happenings at the school. Desperate to uncover the secrets of her past, the source of her visions and the truth behind the frightening goings-on at Holbrook, Faye and her new “family” risk serious and painful consequences in their quest for answers. The novel has its share of plusses. Faye is an artist at heart, and the first-person narration, even when relaying the darkest and most gruesome aspects of the story, reflects Faye’s vivid and sensuous view of the world. It also lends itself to an interesting perspective on Faye’s internal struggles, particularly with regard to her love/hate relationship with her terrifying visions. Unfortunately, the resolution feels forced, the author having spent too much time reveling in dark, gory details to the detriment of the story.
It’s unfortunate that the more positive aspects of the novel are diluted by a confusing plot that takes too long to work itself out and has the potential to leave readers scratching their heads at the end. (Fantasy. 14 & up)