Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
release date: February 2nd, 2012
hardcover, 320 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: from author for honest review
When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.
But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.
Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.
Review: Before I launch into my review, can I just take a moment to appreciate the amazing cover that graces this book? Amazing. Not only because it's gorgeous (and it most certainly is), but because every single detail is significant to the story; the tarot card design, the eclipsed moon, the aquablue sea. I love that.
So, behind this cover lies a captivating, bone-chilling story, that on the surface appears to be a psychological thriller but is in fact, hiding so much more. It took a few chapters to really sink into this story and get a grip on the characters and setting, but once it got rolling I was shirking chores and daily life to spend time immersed in this fascinating story. This story took twists that left my head spinning. The suspense and mystery played out perfectly...just when you think you know what's going on, the rug is quickly pulled out from under you. Just when you think you know what to expect from any of the characters, they completely surprise you. Each one, even the main character, Faye, was well written, while still keeping a certain air of mystery. There were times where I just couldn't pinpoint who was right, who was wrong, who was real...and who was just plain crazy.
The plot was intricately woven and complex, and while most of the time this is what pulled me in and kept me turning pages deep into the night, there were moments, especially toward the end, where I got a little lost and had to backtrack and reread sections in order to really comprehend what was happening. Also, certain things never quite made sense to me, even in hindsight (i.e. Dr Murdoch and her staff---why on earth were they so cruel?) Still, upon finishing, I closed the book with a definite sense of awe at how the story played out as a whole.
This one will surprise you, I think! Definitely a recommended read when you're in the mood for a psychological thriller with a bit of romance and a paranormal twist!
Visit Sara Wilson Etienne at www.sarawilsonetienne.com.
Purchase Harbinger at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository • Indiebound