Author: Gina Rosati
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
ISBN-10: 1596437103 (MacTeen)
ISBN-13: 978-1596437104 (MacTeen)
Reviewed by: Emmy
16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she’s only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.
When there’s a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna’s body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn’t take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.
Quick & Dirty: Auracle has a great premise but gets dragged below expectations by a few cliché characters.
Opening Sentence: Rei Ellis whispers to me as the light goes dark.
When Anna astrally watches the death of Taylor, one of the classic high school Mean Girls, she doesn’t expect to come back to her body and find Taylor’s soul inside it. While Anna and Rei search for answers — and a way to put Anna’s soul back where it belongs — Taylor gets positively crafty. Because if they manage to eject her from Anna’s body, what happens to her? Taylor’s machinations as Anna are more extreme and make the investigation around her own death more complicated, bringing in a great amount of suspense and increasing the already fast pace of the plot.
I absolutely love the idea of astral projection. Rosati does a great job of throwing in theoretical physics as an explanation for why Anna can tune into the vibrations of the universe. The most I know about physics comes from watching The Big Bang Theory, so while it bordered on info-dumping, the exposition was necessary and I can’t think of any better way of introducing something as complicated and confusing as theoretical physics. When Anna is projecting we get a lot of interesting developments — like the fact she projects in her sleep without knowing it, randomly finding herself in her best friend Rei’s bedroom. All the interesting developments in the world, however, will not make up for Anna’s pouty behavior when she’s trapped outside her body. She turns into something of a poltergeist, causing needless mischief with coffee cups and cigarettes. It slowed the pace of the story and along with her evisceration of Taylor made her practically unsympathetic.
As I said before, what dragged Auracle down for me was the characters. Our villain is the Mean Girl in school, which would be okay if she didn’t fall back onto the stereotype. Anna, our heroine, of course doesn’t give any thought to her appearance, preferring baggy jeans and sweatshirts. (I wore sweatshirts and jeans in high school, but let me assure you I still cared about my appearance. What teenage girl doesn’t?) But Taylor’s a slut, of course, who likes clingy tops and short, short skirts. She’s flirty and sexually active and Anna attacks these qualities with a viciousness that made me uncomfortable and sounded a lot like the author instead of the character. I don’t know where authors get the impression we as readers want to read about slut shaming, but it’s really not cool.
Rei is the good-boy-next-door that frankly we don’t have enough of in YA. Bad boys are so overrated. Rei was sweet and charismatic and sincere. Their romance grew from their love for each other as friends into something more — another thing we don’t see enough of in YA. I loved the slow, smoldering progression of their attraction for each other. And Rei is easy to love, even if he does seem a little like a paragon at times.
Auracle is a fast and short page turner. The writing is easy to fall into and Anna’s narrative voice, despite the preaching that comes through, is mostly fun to read. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to sympathize with the heroine — and considering the fact she’s trapped outside her body while someone ruins her life, it shouldn’t have been hard for the author to do — which made some swaths of it less than enjoyable. The premise rocked my world, and I am really sad it didn’t manage to live up to expectations.
“There you are,” he smiles at me as I hover around the swing chair.
I’m surprised he can see me. Usually, I have to summon up a considerable amount of energy if I want to be seen. Maybe I absorbed enough of Rei’s energy tonight just by sitting with him that I materialized without meaning to.
“Are you sleeping?”
What does he mean by that? I must look confused because now he looks positively amused. “I thought so. So you won’t remember this conversation tomorrow.”
Oh, really! I try not to show surprise on my face. How does he know this? Have I shown up in his room before and had conversations with Rei I don’t remember?
FTC Advisory: Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Auracle. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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