Title: The Jumbee
Author: Pamela Keyes
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Jumbee (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
ISBN-10: 0803733135 (Dial/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0803733138 (Dial/Penguin)
Synopsis (Product Description):
Seventeen-year-old Esti Legard spent her childhood in the Shakespearean world of her famous father, and when he died, she knew she could never give up acting. After she and her mother move to a Caribbean island for her senior year, she realizes that nothing at her new school’s theater department is quite as it seems. Stunned by the death of a fellow student on her first day of class, Esti is soon surrounded by legends of the wicked jumbees that haunt the West Indies. She finds herself snubbed by the school’s star actress and relegated to a minor part in Romeo and Juliet.
Only her intriguing new friend, the elusive Alan, shares her passion for Shakespeare. Hiding in the dark recesses of the theater, he leads Esti deep into her own soul to explore the limits of her talent. When Esti’s childhood best friend moves to the island and back into her life, however, Alan disappears. Rocked by growing accusations of befriending a jumbee, Esti realizes she must find out who – or what – Alan really is. She is soon forced to defy everyone and everything she’s ever believed in, as she plunges into the mysteries of Shakespeare and the legends of the West Indians, discovering shocking truths about her own past that will forever shape her future.
Quick & Dirty: A charming blend of mystery, romance and intrigue, all set within a flavorful Caribbean world.
Opening Sentence: “Paul is dead!”
Esti Legard is struggling to fit in at her new theater school on the island of Cariba. Feeling as if she’s constantly living in the shadow of her father, a famous actor, Esti struggles to establish her own identity. She lands a role in the play Romeo and Juliet and immediately becomes captivated by a “voice” known as Alan. Alan helps her recite her lines and teaches her the finer points on acting. Even though Esti has yet to see Alan, she develops deep feelings for him. As events unfold, Esti learns that many of the locals believe that the theater is haunted by a Jumbee, legendary ghosts that haunt the island. Esti’s life is further complicated when her friend, Rafe, shows up on the lsland for some fun in the sun.
The Jumbee is an imaginative retelling of Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Keyes utilizes the captivating Caribbean as the backdrop for her story. Ms. Keyes deftly weaves Caribbean culture and superstition into the story, making a familiar tale an altogether a new experience. Part mystery, part romance, with loads of intrigue, The Jumbee is an entertaining tale that will keep you guessing.
Ultimately, Esti is a unique and interesting character. Nonetheless, I would have liked for the author to have delved deeper into her character. Beyond Esti’s obsession with theater, and her struggle to escape the shadow cast by her famous father, I felt there was something missing, and that if she were a little more fleshed out, this would have made her even more memorable. Other characters fair better still. Alan and Rafe are especially well crafted characters.
Overall, The Jumbee is a very good read. There’s plenty charm in The Jumbee to keep readers engaged. With its unique and refreshing Caribbean setting, and suspenseful storyline, this paranormal adventure is a great addition to the genre.
His chest rose in a fierce breath, but he didn’t speak. Esti forced herself to meet his gaze, trying to ignore a sudden panic that she had somehow alienated him too. After what seemed like forever, he finally came closer. Although she wished she knew what he was thinking, the desire on his face was unmistakable. As the sand shifted beneath his knees, she choked back a fleeting sense of hysteria. Would this make her feel better?
But Rafe didn’t kiss her. He reached out with his hand instead, touching her cheek. His fingertips lightly followed the line of her jaw, then her nose and the ridge of her eyebrows, exploring the shape of her face. His eyes not leaving hers, he let his fingers move to her mouth, tracing the curve of her lips. His touch felt like fire on her skin, glorious and frightening and wonderful.
Abruptly he leaned forward. His fingers twisted into her hair, cupping the back of her head and tipping her face up to meet his. His mouth took over where his hand had begun. Esti melted into him, heat exploding through her body as his tongue traced the tip of her tongue, the line of her teeth. Slowly, his lips discovered the rest of her face, returning to her mouth every now and then as they brushed against her closed eyes, her cheekbones, the lobes of her ears. When he finally straightened, still cupping her head in his hand, she sagged and stared up at him.
The Jumbee Series:
1. The Jumbee
FTC Advisory: Penguin Group provided me with a copy of The Jumbee. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
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