Most people stay away from 15-year-old Allie Carmichael, as they have an apparent aversion to her touch, which renders her nearly friendless. Her parents' jobs keep the family moving from place to place, but Allie feels that their latest move to Cleveland might not be so bad when she meets Aidan McBrien. He's not the least bit intimidated by her, and their mutual attraction is instantaneous. It's odd, though, that, like Allie, Aidan and all of his pals are adopted. Allie, who's accustomed to being a pariah, suddenly has friends, including Aidan's older sister Sasha, and later, a new boyfriend, Vince. When a fireworks accident turns into a raging fire, Allie, Aidan, and their friend Kayla miraculously survive. Aidan's family feels that they have no choice but to explain some things to Allie on her 16th birthday. It turns out that it's the time of her Awakening, a painful rite of passage for Immortals during which she begins to exhibit other extraordinary, supernatural abilities. Many in her circle of friends have endured their own Awakenings. Before she can fully register this information, she's undergoing weapons and martial arts training and honing other skills, such as clairvoyance. She's reluctant to fight anyone, but she may soon have to battle the members of the Coalition, which is run by mortals but armed with Immortal allies. The bulk of the novel follows Allie as her mentors train her, and she can see their memories; one trainer, Emma, for example, may have witnessed the Coalition's genesis back in 16th-century Paris. Allie's concurrent high school life, however, is unfortunately dropped from the plot. Her romance with mere mortal Vince generates searing melodrama between the couple and Aidan, who wants more than Allie's friendship. The narrative defines various powers more clearly as it goes along: Aidan has healing capabilities, for example, and Allie can, among other things, absorb solar energy. The best power, however, is one that Allie and Aidan share, which later proves to be a hilarious distraction when Allie goes on a date. The buildup regarding the oft-discussed Coalition has a superb payoff when the baddies finally make an appearance, resulting in a bloody, intense confrontation. The story leaves plenty unresolved, of course, paving the way for sequels.
An unhurried but engrossing start for a potentially riveting paranormal series.
- Kirkus Reviews
This series is one to watch! Emerge is an intriguing story You Just Can't Put Down. Melissa A. Craven is fantastic at world building and creating strong origin stories for her characters. This is one Indie book that should be on every YA shelf.
- YA Books Central
Emerge has a good message for young readers. Craven did a nice job of packaging that message into a fun, paranormal action story that readers can get excited about.
- JJ Phillips for Readers' Favorite
"Emerge TheAwakening grabbed my attention within the first few pages and refused to let go until the very end."
-Jamie Georgianson for Readers' Favorite
"Young Adult Fantasy today is being pumped out like never before. In her debut novel, Emerge: The Awakening, Melissa A. Craven has skillfully developed a believable plot that begins by blending friendship, romance, adventure and mystery but then builds on that by throwing in a race of immortal beings, martial arts, battle against ancient enemies and the anticipation of the fulfillment of a very old prophecy.
- Chris Mills for Hub Pages
"Craven obviously has a talent for strong and interesting characters!"
-EmilyWhite for Readers' Favorite
From the Author
As a reader, I grew frustrated with female leads who were either incredibly weak without their male counterparts, or they were the complete opposite as strong, frustratingly stubborn and jaded girls with their love interests trailing along behind them as a liability, offering little to the story.
I wondered where was the balance? Where was the example of equality and respect? Where was the actual-for-real girl power? So I wrote Emerge. Allie's story has morphed over the years, but that message of equality, strength and respect has always remained the same.