YA Magical Realism
Publisher- Soho Teen
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Goodreads: Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.
But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.
Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.
I was disappointed with the mystery in this one, I'll just let you know right up front. I knew right away who it was that was the psychopath doing the killing. However, my husband made me doubt myself because with the initial killing, we get the killer's point of view and my husband pointed out that it didn't give a gender. So I did question myself, a little. But it's always the charming smarmy one. What would have surprised me is if it had been the guy everyone was warning her about. But that was not the only thing that was disappointing in the book. One girl had a chance to save herself from being killed. It was clear that she was going to have to be killed to keep her quiet so why, why, why didn't she tell her best friend or someone else what had happened? I can understand being confused and upset, but if I had been in her place, even at her age, the police would have been my first phone call when I got home.
So, I didn't buy into the stupid girl premise. We aren't that dumb. Then, Aria had to be dumb too because she had to fall for the psychopath and even when he was asking her questions like, "Who is going to die next?" she didn't catch a clue. Really? Why would someone ask that question? And why not go right to the girl's home and tell her? Call the police? Tell her grandparents? I know Aria had never had friends because of her weird "oracle" abilities, but she gets a couple of friends and stops thinking. And the obvious questions were avoided. I don't think you can have an oracle and avoid the most important questions. Who did it? Can X be trusted? (fill in X with several names) Is X in danger (definitely putting Aria's name in that spot).
And then, throughout the book, it is emphasized that almost every oracle in the bloodline has lost her ability by the age of 17. But Aria has gone past her 17th birthday and hasn't lost her ability. She also has a book with a lot of information about her bloodline all the way back to the original oracles. But nothing comes of that. And nothing comes of her not having lost her abilities. Is there another book in the works? Will we get some more information on what important information is in the book? What the importance of Aria keeping her abilities means? Will she retain them and become a consultant for the police?
I also had a little trouble with the reason she was with her grandparents. Now, her grandparents were golden! They were the best thing about the book! I loved that her grandfather would ask her about who would win the races and he would interpret her cryptic answers so he could win a little extra money for them as they were very tight on money. They loved Aria and I loved how when boys started coming over Grandpa got his shotgun out and started cleaning it! Very great pair!! But I didn't understand why her parents blamed her for their split. Why they didn't send money for her expenses. I just think the whole story with the parents needed some more back story.
So, while I read it and liked the author's writing, I didn't think it was a great mystery. Too obvious who did it right from the start. The girls were all portrayed as too stupid to figure out who the bad guy was because he was cute and (oh my fluttering heart) he paid attention to them. The oracle story needed depth and closure.
And the parents not paying support and blaming Aria for the breakup of their marriage, didn't work for me either. Aria's instant popularity was hard to buy as well.
I think the reviews have run the gamut on this one so enter at your own risk. If you've read my review, you'll probably be disappointed with the book or...you've been forewarned and your expectations will be lowered. I wouldn't say this is the worst book I've ever read, not even close. I wouldn't recommend it, but I didn't hate it. It's just one of those "meh" books to me and because I wanted to review it, I was honest about what I didn't like about it. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it! To each her/his own!