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I Belong


Early Review: Endangered by Lamar Giles

newbirdTitle: Endangered

Author: Lamar Giles

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 288 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062297562 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062297563 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis

Her name is Lauren, but everyone calls her Panda.

What they don’t know is that behind their backs, she also goes by Gray. As in Gray Scales, the photoblog that her classmates are addicted to because of the secrets Gray exposes: a jock buying drugs, a teacher in a compromising position, a rich girl shoplifting. But no one knows Panda’s the vigilante photographer behind it all. At least, she thinks no one knows—until she gets a note from the Admirer, who’s not only caught her red-handed acting as Gray but also threatens to reveal everything unless Panda plays a little game of Dare or . . . Dare.

Panda plays along. Anything to keep the secret she’s protected for years.

But when the game turns deadly, Panda doesn’t know what to do. And she might need to step out of the shadows to save herself . . . and everyone else on the Admirer’s hit list, including some of the classmates she’s loathed and exposed for years.

Quick & Dirty: Endangered started off great with witty, diverse characters and a dangerous mystery but the second half of the book was a let-down.

Opening Sentence: I’ve haunted my school for the last three years. I’m not a real ghost; this isn’t one of those stories.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

This book had so much potential, I honestly thought it was a solid 4-star read, until I read the last few chapters.

The writing was witty, the characters were interesting and there was plenty of suspense, so what went wrong? For me, it was everyone’s reaction to Lauren’s double life. Yes, she went a bit far with her photography and trying to bring about justice and the fact that her art might have had a hand in someone’s death was unfortunate but I think everyone overreacted just a tad bit.

I didn’t think her intentions were as malicious as they were made out to be. Until Keachin’s death Gray’s site was the talk of the town and it wasn’t as if Lauren killed her! Prying into someone’s personal life and sharing their secrets wasn’t right, of course, but Lauren realised her mistake. She apologised profusely, took down the site and came forward when she realised the ‘admirer’ was dangerous – why wasn’t that enough? She was taking pictures of bullies and the sort, for crying out loud, she wasn’t a government spy!

The only person that had a justified reason to be furious was Mei, considering she ended up almost dying on numerous occasions because of Lauren’s secrecy. Her irritation at not being in the loop was understandable, but Mei also had her secrets in terms of being friends with Taylor, which could be seen as hypocritical.

‘I love Ocie like a sister, but here lies the problem in having a single, solitary best friend. If she’s not down for the cause, there’s no one else to draft. I have to convince her.’

I thought that Lauren’s parents’ reaction was a bit over the top, with the constant surveillance, freezing her out, confiscating every piece of technology she had and shipping her off to the aunt. Their reaction was odd, I would have thought that her father would try to discipline her rather than send her off for someone else to deal with. If I didn’t know any better I would think that Lauren was an undercover assassin rather than a photographer.

I think that’s enough of a rant for now, so let’s move on to the positive aspects of this story. The storyline and mystery surrounding the ‘admirer’ and Keachin’s death made Endangered a very quick read for me; I was anxious to know who the ‘admirer’ was and what they would do next so it definitely kept me on my toes. I was hoping the ‘admirer’ would be someone more… I don’t know… important to Lauren but I don’t want to reveal too much so will leave it at that.

Lauren, aka Panda, was a brilliant MC, I loved her blunt and hilarious banter with Taylor and Mei. Her passion for photography was borderline obsessive but at the same time inspiring. Her work was her life and yes, that was unrealistic for a teenage girl, but this is YA people! I loved her sense of adventure and competitive nature and the fact that the author highlighted her imperfections, even though I do think he was a leeetle harsh on her.

I enjoyed the diverse cultures of the main characters and incorporating German into the dialogue. The constant talk of cameras, capturing the perfect shot and the photography ‘game’ has inspired me to buy my own professional camera (although I’m not sure if I want to splurge so much money on something I don’t have a clue about; stick to books Zed).

In conclusion, I could have loved this book if the ending wasn’t such a disappointment but alas, it was not meant to be…

Notable Scene:

Here’s the part that Keachin doesn’t know about herself; she’s a Raging Bitch Monster.

I’m sure she suspects it, but not in the way, say, a meth-head might suspect that smoking chemicals brewed in a dirty bucket isn’t the best move, thus triggering thoughts of a lifestyle change. Keachin, as best I can tell, does not have such moments of clarity. To her and her pack, bitchiness seems to be something more altruistic. An act of kindness because, otherwise, peons might not know their place.

Additional Notable Scene:

I say, “I was until you showed up. Are you, like, stalking me?”

He looks taken aback. When he speaks again, the sorrow has worn away. “Stalking you? You’re… you’re unbelievable.”

Enough. “What’s with you, lately? We haven’t spoken this much in years. Am I radiating openness? Do you feel the warmth of springtime sun when I’m near? If so, please understand that sensation is actually my fiery disdain.”

The muscles in his jaw clench, like he’s biting back rogue words. A deep breath later, he says, “The way things have been going, I thought you could use a friend.”

“Do you have a head injury that might explain the nonsense that’s coming out of your mouth?”

skull3

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Endangered. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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