By: R.A. McDonald
Publisher: House of Lore
Publication Date: January 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2011
Ada Elizabeth Larue was in trouble again and Gretchen, her “disgruntled social worker” was on her way to bail her out. She was only fifteen-years-old, but had spent a lifetime in and out of the foster system, but this time she was more than glad to leave her foster parents, Dave and Carla behind. Disgusting Dave was the type that “groped her with his eyes” and frankly she was sick of having to slink in and out of the shower. Freak. That’s what he called her even before she’d vandalized their house. It was off to the Between House again, but not before Gretchen lectured her: In past homes you were violent, disrespectful, you’ve stolen ….” Yeah, yeah, yeah. Who cares? Her mother, Simone, had dumped her on her Aunt Jessie when she was a baby and now her only hope was that she’d step in and take her away from this foster care mess.
Jessie O’Neil wasn’t at all what Ada had expected, but the reverse was true as well. No one, absolutely no one wanted to take on a kid like Ada who couldn’t keep her nose clean if she tried. Jessie had explained to the powers that be that they would be living a “traveling lifestyle.” Now this woman turned out not to be a real aunt and was only a friend of her mother’s, but things got a lot weirder because “Everything seemed so secretive.” Jessie was talking about some senator and his hired henchmen and claimed that “if they see you with me you’ll never be free.” Duh? People would often get annoyed with Ada because she could “see” sickness, but this woman was sick …in the head. Their first leg in this traveling circus found them in a cabin in the woods of Canada.
Jessie began to ask her questions about healing. “Have you even been hurt and made it go away?” Ada remembered the time when she got seriously whacked in the eye. Yes, she could heal herself, but she didn’t think much about it. Soon she would be able to test her powers when she held a tortured kitten in her hands. It was “absorbing her energy,” but would it heal? Ada soon found, like the kitten, that there were strange men out to capture and torture her. Were her powers of healing as strong as her mother’s? It was time to move on and soon she would find herself in Paris in search of a woman she had never known. Instead she would find Daniel who would convince her that “all obstacles had potential for being tools that she could use to her advantage. She just had to reprogram her mind to see the tool instead of obstacles.” Ada would join his Pakour group to learn how to protect herself. She would be a traceuse, but would her newfound freedom open up her heart so she would learn compassion for others? Would she find her mother before evil found her? Was her gift of healing going to turn out to be a curse?
This tale of Ada, a foster child blessed (or cursed) with the gift of healing will mesmerize the reader. This coming-of-age story heavily drew me in when Ada had to choose for herself how her life was going to play out once she discovered her unusual powers. Like most teens, Ada had to make difficult choices, but unlike the average teen, she had much more to contend with. She was unwanted, angry, disillusioned, confused, and not quite sure what her place would be in society once her gift was discovered. Ada, gift or no gift, is a girl who most readers can relate to. She was far from a cardboard character and I was anxious to find out what would happen to her as she struggled with her innermost emotions and feelings. Although this book can stand alone, it definitely leaves itself open to a sequel, one in which I’d be very interested in reading. The phenomenally executed black and white artwork in this book is very appealing and meshes well with the tale.
Quill says: This is one fascinating tale that any ‘tween or teen interested in the paranormal will love!