YA readers will certainly be kept guessing while reading Shannon Duffy's debut book, "Spectral" this summer! The plot is a perplexing one, and the characters serve to keep one guessing almost to the end about the crux of their life-style and the problem that keeps them running. Jewel's birthmark and special qualities are featured and decidedly interesting. Duffy's beautiful book cover will grab lots of ebook followers, is my guess, which is first and foremost in the the YA fiction crowd these days.
While her writing is good, I think Ms Duffy could have made the twists and turns of the novel a bit clearer to her readers. It's good to have suspense and mysterious characters; particularly handsome leading men! But, readers need time and information to fall deeply under the spell of a book and character. As in art--we sometimes need to create some clear space to see the full picture. Some more self-editing and experience will help in her next YA book, I suspect.
There is much to recommend "Spectral." The family and Jewel are, for the most part, interesting characters, their moving and "hiding" creates good mystery, as does her attempt to discover the whys and wherefores of her being. I loved the idea of Shannon's book.
I'm looking forward to more from this talented author. I think she has good ideas, and I think with her next book we'll see her develop as a solid YA author. This was a 3.5 star book for me. Not quite a cross over fiction... but fun, I thought, and age appropriate for teenagers.
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