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Pretty Souls: A Paranormal Response Team Novel Paperback – February 14, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Pretty Souls tells the story of two foster sisters, Elle and Cass, who are not your average teenage girls: Elle is a werewolf and Cass is a vampire. They met and clicked immediately. In an unlikely series of events, they stay together through several foster families, all the while trying to blend into the human world and not draw attention to themselves. (NOTE: that was my understanding of the story but on IM, Particka says they met at their current foster home. I didn't read it that way, but I can't swear that it's not in the book.) They've found foster parents that they like and try to do all the right things so they can remain in a safe, loving home.
Elle and Cass sneak out at nights to patrol the town for supernatural beings but are startled when they encounter peers and other townspeople who have been turned into living zombies. These zombies are not dead nor are they rotting; their body remains unchanged but their souls are gone. The girls start to hunt for the being or beings responsible and quickly encounter more suspects than they know what to do with. Additionally, their school work suffers from their nocturnal activities and as a result they find themselves saddled with tutors. Unsurprisingly, there is more to the eye concerning the tutors than the girls first believe. Cass appears to be head over heels for her tutor, Corbin, a college student, while Elle has feelings for Jax, her tutor and a new kid in town. Elle believes that she is less attractive than her blond, tiny, and perky sister and is convinced that Jax is attracted to Cass; she worries that Cass is interested in Jax and is prepared to step aside despite her own feelings for him.
Things aren't always what they seem in this novel, there are more secrets than they realized. Their foster parents begin to act suspiciously, and overheard whispered conversations only raise more questions for the girls. The villain they hunt lays down numerous false trails and pretty much everyone around them is a suspect. As they fumble around in their investigation, we see them learn about themselves both as supernatural beings and teenage girls. They make their share of mistakes during their hunt for the zombie maker, whom they eventually realize is trying to find a way into Hell. They feel real and are likable, even when being stupid or unreasonable.
They struggle with their feelings towards each other as sisters and as supernatural beings, with their interactions with teenage boys, and just generally fitting in, something most teens struggle with. Just like normal teenagers, they deal with family issues, school, friends, peers, and emerging romantic and sexual feelings.
The story is told in first person by Elle. She narrates the events and we get a close up look at her struggles to control the beast inside her, cope with the mundane activities and concerns of an American teenager, and her feelings for her foster family including Cass. Their devotion to each other is demonstrated time and again but is never saccharine; just like real-life siblings, they squabble and argue. Particka makes them seem real and her world is believable. The story moves along but never feels rushed and she takes her time in developing her characters. Even the minor characters that are on page briefly are fleshed out; you can imagine that you know them or could know them.
The one real quibble I have is the author's habit of being sparse with details. Actually, I mostly like that as I am not one who needs a great deal of detail about a character's looks, clothes, house, etc. However, there were several times in the story when I was confused, primarily where and when the sisters met (see above) and where the story takes place. I eventually figured out that it was in the Midwestern part of the US but some clarity would have been appreciated. To be fair, I was sick when I read it and had a killer headache so I could have missed some of the information.
The story ends after they find the zombie maker but not all of the loose ends are tied up. The ending makes it clear that there is another book to come. I look forward to reading it.
NOTE: The author and the reviewer are friends. This review previously appeared at Bea's Book Nook, [...] , and at Book Lovers Inc, [...]
An entertaining story with a nice balance of paranormal activity and teenage reality.
Pretty Souls is the story of Ellery "Elle" Jameson and her foster sister Cassidy "Cass" Wegner a werewolf and half-vampire respectively, whom while on patrol one night discover the beginnings of something they have never come across before. The people of their town are slowly becoming what seems to be living zombies and it's up to the girls to figure out who (or what) is behind it before someone they care about becomes the next victim.
The task isn't easy though, it's not like the girls have a 1-800 number they can call for advice, its just two teenage girls, their limited experiences and wits. It also doesn't help that the girls have their own lives to deal with. Lives that include doing their best not to screw up the home they currently have with their great foster parents or to destroy the reputations they've built up for themselves at school.
The pace of the story I admit feels a little slow at times, Elle and Cass may have been patrolling the streets of their town and dealing with the occasional paranormal baddie for a while but their far from experts. They're pretty much making up their next moves as they go along and despite Cassidy's "sources" and the suspects on their list each move they make seems to lead to a dead end until a little over a hundred pages when they hit a break and things start to really pick up.
I enjoyed seeing the werewolf issues from a female perspective, I haven't come across it that much in the YA genre and it was nice to see the downs as well as the ups to being able to shift your form. Another thing I enjoyed about Pretty Souls was the relationship between Elle and Cass; even though they weren't related by blood I enjoyed the bond between the two. They really felt like sisters, not always getting along but always being there for each other when the other needed her most. I also enjoyed the fact that the parents were actually not absent in this story, the plot was able to carry on without having parental figures being dead or MIA for most of the story and lastly I enjoyed all the non-paranormal bits that balanced out the supernatural parts. The story wasn't just about finding and defeating the villain, Elle also had guy problems occupying her mind for a large part of the time, as well as slight insecurities with her looks. She also thought about her foster parents and how she was lucky to find them and how she didn't want to lose them.
Two things I didn't really enjoy about the story was that one, I would have liked to have gotten a little more insight into the girls motivation behind their nightly patrols in the first place. And two, the story leaves you with a cliffhanger and some loose ends. I don't know if it was good or bad that I could see it coming, there were clues set out through the end of the story and the final page lets you know that this book really was just the beginning to something bigger. This story was worth the cliffie though and I can't wait for the next one to come out.
This book was exciting with spunky supernatural characters that are the epitome of today's teens. I like the fact that this book even being a YA did not hold back on what teens are REALLY like in today's society, the fact that a few expletives leak out every once in a while was actually refreshing and Julie Particka did not go overboard on the language at all. In fact this book had such a real feel to it that it reminded me of my own high school days... of course minus the supernatural's. If only there had been werewolves and vampires in my school perhaps it would have been less boring!
That being said, I loved this book and would whole-heartedly recommend it to YA readers of all ages. Elle Jameson and Cassidy Wegner find themselves in foster care and over the years have formed a unique bond as not only sisters but best friends. The reason this relationship is so unique is that Elle is a werewolf, while Cass is a vampire. Unwittingly they find themselves joining forces to combat other supernatural elements that threaten to destroy the normality of a life they have tried to fit into.
This story is very humorous, quirky, with just enough snippy teenager comments to make you laugh. I can't wait for the next book and I commend Julie on her realistic take on the young adult scene! Definitely worth picking up!
My rating: 5 Ravens flying high!
Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud / [...]
Most Recent Customer Reviews
She manages to have teenagers that are complex, conflicted and realistic. Just like real teenagers.Read more