Series: Saratoga Woods #1
Published by Viking Juvenile on September 4th 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Whidbey Island may be only a ferry ride from Seattle, but it's a world apart. When Becca King arrives there, she doesn't suspect the island will become her home for the next four years. Put at risk by her ability to hear "whispers"--the thoughts of others--Becca is on the run from her stepfather, whose criminal activities she has discovered. Stranded and alone, Becca is soon befriended by Derric, a Ugandon orphan adopted by a local family; Seth, a kindhearted musician and high school dropout; Debbie, a recovering alcoholic who takes her in; and Diana, with whom Becca shares a mysterious psychic connection.
This compelling coming-of-age story, the first of an ongoing sequence of books set on Whidbey Island, has elements of mystery, the paranormal, and romance. Elizabeth George, bestselling author of the Inspector Lynley crime novels, brings her elegant style, intricate plotting, incisive characterization, and top-notch storytelling to her first book for teens.
I kind of just stumbled into reading this book. I happened upon it when browsing and found myself hooked by the intro. See, there’s this girl and she’s a mind reader, and her abilities cause her to accidentally discover her stepfather has committed murder.
With this information, both the girl and her mother have to go into hiding. She changes her name to Becca King and her mother, Laurel, sends her off to live temporarily with a close friend while Laurel goes and establishes a new life for them in BC. Their getaway seems to have gone off without a hitch until Becca is forced to make her way to her new destination by herself and upon doing so discovers that Laurel’s friend has just suffered a heart attack without having told anyone about Becca’s arrival.
Becca tries calling her mom, but the call never goes through. So Becca’s caught, parentless, and she might possibly be in danger of being caught by her stepfather. That’s a good premise right, are you excited to read it?
I was. But it turns out that actually wasn’t even what this book was about. The entire beginning seemed like a means to get Becca without her mom so she was free to have teenagey adventures sans parents.
What this book was really about was Derric, Becca’s insta-crush, who after Becca sees him all of four times is found in a bloody heap in the woods. The whole thing is a 25% whodunnit mystery, 75% insight into each of the townspeople’s woes, and 100% uninteresting. The only thing that kept me reading was the danger that Becca could be found my her stepfather at any minute, or that she might reconnect with Laurel.
While there were certainly moments where Becca thought she was in danger, nothing actually happened. So I thought at least there was the mystery of Derric, right? Who pushed the kid anyway? So many townspeople were in the forest that day, any one of them could have done it, and all of them seem to know something. But when everything is resolved, the answer is so simple and pointless that you just shake your head.
Becca was a character who I could never really get a sense of, and her ‘nemesis’, Jenn, was so ridiculously written I couldn’t tell if the author actually wanted me to take her snark seriously or imagine her as like, a cartoon pixie or something. I understand that Jenn is mean and rude and terrible to Becca, but her dialogue was so sightlessly malicious and she was always saying things that were unnecessary and seemed only intended to make Becca seem grounded and selfless.
The Edge of Nowhere gives deep insight into the tangled lives of its smalltown characters, none of whom I cared about. The way the story was told was such a jumbled, monotonous and transparent mess that I just couldn’t believe any of it. I definitely don’t recommend this one.