I was so captivated by this premise: Cassie can see a faint glow around the heads of people who are about to die. Why does she have such a strange power and does she have the moral responsibility to tell what she knows?
Cassie is rather more robust than your typical teen. Once her nana dies, she’s entirely on her own – except for an aunt who could care less about her – but she takes it in stride. Her power isolates her too - she doesn’t really engage with others much, with the exception of college student Lucas who pushes her to “use” her “talent”. The ups and downs of their rocky relationship feel authentic and add to the dramatic tension (though some readers might be put off by what amounts to statutory rape, albeit unwitting).
What I most enjoyed was the exploration of philosophical questions which gave the novel depth beyond that of a typical YA read. It was, however, a tad convenient to have Cassie actually audit a philosophy class in which Lucas was the TA. In fact, quite a few aspects of the plot came off as too convenient which makes the narrative feel overly “outlined” and not as fresh as it could be considering the very original revelation we get at the end of the novel. I could totally imagine (and hope for) a kick-a** sequel, Ms. Nadol.
THE MARK comes out in hardcover on January 19, 2010. Find out more about it (and read an excerpt) on the author’s website.