What happens when E-S-P spells D-A-N-G-E-R? Well it could mean one of two things. One, you need to learn to spell properly – or two, you’re a young girl with psychic powers and you’ve met other young girls with psychic powers and made some friends. Only for something sinister to be in the air...
Well, that’s the plot today of the book Dark Before Dawn by Stacy Juba, a Young Adult Paranormal novel involving psychic powers. It may sound like the plot to a Charmed episode, but in actual fact, this is a lot more enjoyable (apologies to Charmed fans).
So let’s start channelling our chakra and gather our inner spiritual energy and dive into Dark Before Dawn.
About The Author
Stacy Juba has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag: she pursues whatever story ideas won’t leave her alone. Stacy’s titles include the adult mystery novels Sink or Swim and Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, the children’s picture books The Flag Keeper and the Teddy Bear Town Children’s Bundle (Three Complete Picture Books), and the young adult novels Face-Off and Dark Before Dawn. She is also the editor of the essay anthology 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back. She is a former journalist with more than a dozen writing awards to her credit.
More retailers at: http://stacyjuba.com/blog/dark-before-dawn/
Dark Before Dawn is also available as part of the Young Ladies of Mystery Boxed Set - which contains Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, Sink or Swim and Dark Before Dawn in one download. http://stacyjuba.com/blog/young-ladies-of-mystery-boxed-set/
Gotta say I love the title – very symbolic of the central character. And this cover is quite striking with its contrast of dark and light. It may not stand out amongst most covers I’ve seen, but it’s a pretty cool cover none the less and the themes of the book are portrayed nicely.
Like a lot of teenagers, Dawn has trouble fitting in and making friends. The fact that she seems to possesses psychic abilities and can read minds by accident doesn’t help matters and can put her in some quite embarrassing situations. But when she makes friends with Candice and Jamie (two girls that also possess psychic abilities), they bring her to a powerful psychic called Serina, who seems almost too keen to teach her about her abilities. With it, Dawn learns new abilities that she never knew that she had, which empowers her and gives her more confidence. But there couldn’t possibly be a sinister side to Serina and the girls, could there?
Well, I don’t want to give too many spoilers – but if you know how most Paranormal stories go, you can bet that there will be some sinister dealings somewhere down the line!
I liked this one, it was a nice change to the amount of romantic novels I’ve done the last few reviews (not that I don’t enjoy reading those of course). The language and writing style is simple to follow and very easy to read, making this perfect for teenage readers.
The basic story (of a main character seeking acceptance, but isolated because of the gifts they possess), is one we’ve seen more than once in other novels, but I felt that the story was well done and I couldn’t see any plot holes in it, which was a good thing. Occasionally it was a little predictable in terms of the twists and you do kinda see what’s gonna happen before it does – but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to read. It’s a good length as well and not overly padded out, so most people will be able to get through this fairly quickly.
I think the only real issue I had with this book was a lack of a strong male character. All the guys in this book are either annoying or (minor spoilers) characters waiting to die. The closest we get is Ken, her step brother – but he was a bit of a prat and little more than a “damsel in distress”. I’m guessing this book was more intended for female readers, but I believe that, just because you may aim this book for one particular gender, it doesn’t mean you can’t put characters in that the opposite se can’t relate to or back. After all, even Twilight had some strong male characters as well as strong female characters. That’s just my view though and only really a nitpick.
But the above didn’t hinder my enjoyment of it and it was a refreshing read from the sort of books that I had before.
PROS (the Force is strong with this one):
- Easy to follow story and plot is very tight and consistent.
- A good collection of psychic powers throughout.
- Great length.
CONS (I sense much fear in you):
- More aimed at female readers, so male readers may feel a little isolated.
If you like a nice, easy to follow story with a strong plot, then this will be right up your street. It could have had more strong male protagonists, but I still found a lot to enjoy in this book and I’m sure that readers of Young Adult Paranormal novels will as well. Go get yourself a copy – you know you want to!
FINAL SCORE: 3.5/5
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