In Abrey’s debut YA fantasy novel, a teenage girl must confront a threat to the Isle of Man.
Teenager Imogen “Genny” Hazard has no interest in moving to the Isle of Man when her scientist father gets the chance to further his work on alternative energy, but she doesn’t have a choice. She doesn’t want to leave her friends (and academic standing) behind to travel to a strange new place. The biggest reason for her reluctance, however, is her father himself: He’s been cold and distant ever since her mother died in an accident years ago, when she was 8. After they arrive at their new home, Genny’s father quickly goes off to work by himself, leaving Genny to grapple with fitting in at her new school. However, she finds that it’s not all bad, as the Isle of Man is an intriguing, beautiful place, and she soon befriends a trio of self-professed geeks as well as an attractive boy named Ken. He’s handsome and charming, and he and Genny click immediately, even if he does love literature and folklore in a way that science- and math-focused Genny can’t grasp. She soon finds herself falling hard for him, but she distances herself when she learns a troubling secret about him, his family and their connection to the island. As she struggles to figure out where she really belongs, and whom she can trust, she tries to come to terms with her own past—and she eventually realizes that the Isle is more a part of her life than she thought. What really happened the day her mother died, and what mysterious work is her father really up to? She eventually must make a hard choice to face a threat from someone very close to her heart. Genny’s story is often suspenseful, despite a lack of action scenes, and her character develops nicely as she makes new discoveries. The Manx setting is particularly remarkable, as the place comes alive as Genny learns more about it, making readers feel as if they’re right there with her. However, many of her innate qualities, such as her scientific ability and skeptical attitude toward anything mythological, offer her little help by the story’s conclusion. There are more books to come in this series, however, and this installment makes for a powerful start.
An exciting, well-developed coming-of-age fantasy.