Ghosts follow her around.
Her best friend is an elephant.
And she’s about to meet the biggest game changer of all: a boy. With a secret.
When circus-dwelling Gemma Flannery learns she will be attending public school for the first time in her seventeen years, little does she know that fitting in with her 12th-grade classmates will be the least of her concerns. A pro at hiding her knack for seeing the dead (“shades”), Gemma is grieving the recent suicide of her mentally ill mother, a process eased by the introduction of her first real love interest, the charming and painfully handsome Henry Dmitri, who is harboring his own collection of dangerous secrets. Together, they will be presented with a frightening challenge: to assume their roles as heirs to a 3000-year-old magical text, the AVRAKEDAVRA, a book the über-rich, sleight-of-being master Lucian Dmitri would do anything to get his hands on. As each terrifying layer in her new reality melts away, Gemma unearths truths that her quiet, nomadic life with the Cinzio Traveling Players is not at all what she’d always cherished. Gemma and Henry must rely on each other to stop Lucian’s diabolical plotting that will bring the world to its tired, scab-riddled knees, and are sent on the flight of their young lives, to save themselves, their families, and the world from the darkest kind of destruction.
Let the chase begin.
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This was recommended to me by Cait (The Cait Files), so I bought it for my Kindle. I found it a little hard to get into but after a few chapters I liked Gemma more and more and connected with her better. I loved the idea that she lives in a travelling circus, I think that angle isn't done enough in YA books. There's a lot of swearing and violence in this, which I liked as it felt more realistic.
The story has lots of twists and turns that you don't quite expect. Gemma gets kicked around quite a lot but her character is really strong and puts up with all of that, giving a few punches herself. Henry and Gemma complement each other perfectly and work really well together, although I'll admit that I was hoping they wouldn't get together at one point - I felt that they would work better together if they didn't. But as a couple they're just as cool.
I think I liked the last 25% the most, where Gemma and Henry are on the run, it was full of action and suspense (who doesn't love a good chase scene?). I was on edge, wondering if they were about to be caught or not, if someone would recognise them. I think a lot of the story was just building up to that point. I think the sequel will be interesting as I believe it will be set in a different country, with (hopefully) some new characters too!
(2014 note: no sequel has been released for this story, which I find very disappointing.)