Author: Sherry G. Torgent
Publisher: Blue Ink Press
Publishing Date: December 1, 2015
I received this book for Review from Blue Ink Press, and below you will find my honest review of this novel. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Blue Ink for providing me with this novel!
This review is extremely difficult to write for an insanely simple reason: I loved AND hated this book. I know you probably went back and just did a double take because you saw that my rating was 4.5 stars, but I can assure you, you did read that correctly. This fast-paced Coming of Age, Mystery, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy novel kept my attention from the first page to the last. (Yes, there are four different genres that have been beautifully blended together in this one story.) Torgent is an incredibly talented author who painted her characters so realistically that I fell in love with them – this was to my own downfall. We’ll discuss that later on, though.
Our main protagonists and heroines of this story are Darcy and Hardy Vance, two high-schoolers who are trying to survive. Seen as juvenile delinquents in the eyes of the school board Darcy and Hardy are teamed together for community service for minor infractions. Though these two teens don’t hit it off right away, they eventually become close friends that you can’t help but love to be around!
Darcy, a freshman from out of town comes from an abusive home run by a single mother. As the youngest of her family, Darcy is subject to the abuse of her alcoholic brother, while her weaker sibling (who is still older than her) does nothing. Imagine a deviant twist on Cinderella. Evil mom, two dim-witted, ugly brothers, and a dead father. Granted, there are some key differences between the classic tale, and Darcy’s life, but I could clearly see the similarities.
Hardy, on the other hand, comes from a broken home, too, but in a much different way. Hardy’s father is dismissive and has left him with a male in the house who is only present to pay bills and piss him off. His lack of attention and consideration for Hardy, other than to bark chores and orders at him, leaves wounds that affect him greatly.
Hardy wants one thing: to complete highschool without anymore trouble so that he can attend college off the island. Of course, anyone who has ever been a high-schooler can attest to life never quite going as planned. Now that Hardy has been given community service he has been asked to keep an eye on Darcy. When he remembers that he has another responsibility to attend to, he’s forced to bring Darcy with him and the two take a pit stop to see Hardy’s grandfather, Olen. To both of their surprise, secrets are revealed that change absolutely everything. Upon the reveal of these secrets, a mysterious murder ensues. Hardy discovers his Grandfather dead the following day, and an entirely new world is opened before him.
Once Hardy and Darcy stumble upon the clue that will ultimately lead them to world-shattering news (a dandelion) they then begin to venture off to find the truth behind all that has been stirred since the death of Olen. They are thrust onto a journey to discover the truth behind the mysterious deaths of local senior citizens, to combat the corruption in the local government, and ultimately get justice for the Murder of Olen.
This novel continued to take me on a fast paced journey that I never wanted to put down, and THAT is why I loved it. From the herd of cows that were mysteriously massacred by a rogue weed, all the way to the mysterious deaths of senior citizens, this book kept me on my toes the entire time!
With the mixture of four different genres there is enough to captivate you from the very beginning. That being said, however, now is when I must get down to the business of my qualms with this book.
(If you do not want to read the spoilers, please scroll down to the portion labeled Final Thoughts)
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
As I continued to fall in love with Hardy and Darcy, of course I had moments where I was dying for them to get together. Hey, books were MEANT for shipping! (A slang term for fantasizing about two characters being in a relationship) With each turn of the page my love for Hardy and Darcy grew, and I wasn’t given that love that I undoubtedly knew existed until just shy of the end. As you are turning pages in any book you will start noticing when you’re approaching the end, which, in turn, heightens your awareness to the resolutions that are expected to come in the following pages.
Knowing that there is a second book, I was prepared for a cliff-hanger. I was fully ready to accept that I would need to immediately crack open book two and dive right back into Darcy’s and Hardy’s world. That being said, however, what I was not expecting was an end that left me in tears, and left me angry. I can’t say that I’m angry with Torgent, because there was nothing that made the conclusion to her book “bad.” Honestly, the ending of this book left me raw, and I wasn’t even sure how to function after the last page. I can only assume she was aiming for a shock-factor when she included this in the story, but, personally, I wasn’t shocked… I was wounded.
In the last twenty pages when the resolution begins to take place, in an altercation between protagonist and antagonist, Darcy is shot. She bleeds out and is rushed to the hospital and put on a ventilator in the ICU and labeled as Critical. Fine. I’m upset, but I can handle this because she’s going to live, right?
I begin picking up my reading pace as I needed confirmation that my heart had not just been ripped out of my chest. As I continued to let the information register in my brain, I didn’t know how to cope with the idea of the death of Darcy.
Hardy has the ability to see people’s spirits right prior to their death, so I was watching for him to see her spirit. That was my indicator that this book had taken a horribly wrong turn for the worse. While in the hospital with Darcy, Hardy wakes up to find her spirit standing next to him. They have a touching moment and FINALLY confess their love to one another. Darcy proceeds to tell Hardy that she has to say goodbye. She confesses that there is just too much internal bleeding for her body to survive, and she prepares to cross into the next life.
STOP. At this point, I can’t breathe. I’m ready to throw the book, pout, cry, and just be done. She can’t die. Nope, I can’t allow it. I’m just going to email Torgent now and let her know the end has to be re-written, because I CANNOT handle this.
Okay, okay… I still have to know what happens because there are about five pages left. I’m still clinging to a hope that he will rush to her bed and beg her to stay and she’ll miraculously wake up. No, of course not… Readers are subject to emotional abuse at the whim of authors. (Sorry, Sherry, but it’s true! Author’s love torturing us…)
Previously in the story, there is a brief meet and greet with Hardy at an after-prom-party and he’s addressed by a high-school senior named Emma Snow. She calls him out for staring at Darcy all night and informs him that tomorrow is not a guarantee and that he needs to confess his love for her. Upon reaching the ICU after Darcy has been shot, Hardy’s mom (a nurse at the hospital) informs Hardy that Emma is also in ICU after her Prom date drove intoxicated and crashed their vehicle.
Skip back to Darcy now – she’s said goodbye and her spirit is trying to move to the next life but she can’t continue and she doesn’t know why. She undergoes this weird tearing where she is thrust into another room (room 410, where Emma’s dead body lay) and has an interaction with the legendary Viola. Viola informs Darcy that she is a “shifter” and can find a new host body and heal it if she’s died. Darcy is focused on moving to the next life but Viola is adamant she stay and save Emma’s family from the heart-ache of a dying daughter, and with the hope that she can reconnect with Hardy AS Emma, not Darcy… She convinces her to take Emma’s body, instead of passing on to the next life.
WHAT? Okay, I get twists, and I get shock-factor but I was just NOT ready for this. I don’t think I have the emotional capacity to watch Hardy mourn over the love of his life being dead, even though she isn’t really dead, and then having to watch him fall in love with someone else, even though it’s still Darcy, but he won’t know that, so he’ll feel guilty! If matters weren’t bad enough, right before Viola leaves Darcy in her new body she tells her that if she ever informs anyone that she is in fact Darcy, everything will disappear.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BE READY FOR BOOK 2?
Okay, so really… I’m going to read book two… how could I not? That doesn’t change the fact that I was so angry I called my best friend in a tizzy because I wasn’t prepared for THIS ENDING.
FINAL THOUGHTS – NO SPOILERS
My conclusion of this review is that I have to give applause to Torgent for rocking my world. She wrote an incredible novel that kept me glued from cover to cover. She wrote realistic characters who became so real that it invoked genuine emotion from myself. Though I was not prepared for, and don’t particularly like the ending of, book one, I am still genuinely glad that I read this book, and am eager to find out what happens next. If you did not read the spoiler section, and are concerned you won’t like this book, let me put you at ease… YOU WILL. You will like this book so much that the ending might as well be a full speed semi that collides with your heart. Bring tissues in the last 20 pages, and enjoy this unique novel. I know I did.
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