Friday, January 29, 2010

YA review: The Mark by Jen Nadol

Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.

The one time she pointed it out taught her not to do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her?

Most importantly, if you know today is someone's last, should you tell? (summary from authors website)

Click here to read an excerpt from The Mark. 

My thoughts...Let me start by saying that this book was not at all what I expected.  I knew the jist of the plot, but I still expected a story full of teen angst.  I was wrong.  While The Mark is not a love story, it is a very smart story about life, death, free-will, choices and consequences. 

Cassie, the main character, deals with seeing the Mark on people prior to their death.  Jen Nadol does a brilliant job with this character.  She is grieving from the loss of her Grandmother and is forced to stay with her estranged Aunt.  Her actions are realistic to the situation.  The character feels so real, I found it easy to identify with her and her concerns.  The other characters in the story play small parts, none of them left a very strong impression, but they did help the story move along. 

The paranormal element in this story, the Mark which Cassie sees around people, is very original.  It raises some interesting questions and evoked quite a few thoughts in my mind.  These psychological and ethical questions make the story very intriguing.  Like many people, I am afraid of death.  The idea that someone could see it coming and warn you about your impending death is frightening.  Would you want to know?  Cassie tries to come to terms with ability and tries to decide if it is a burden or a gift.  Cassie's self discovery leads her to learn about her deceased parents and to a love interest.  The story offers something for everyone.  I would recommend it to older teens as well as adults who like books that ask them to step outside their comfort zone and ask questions. 

The cons...Without knowing whether or not The Mark will have a sequel, I have to say the ending.  Cassie's present dilemma is resolved, but I was left with several unanswered questions.  I do hope we will have the opportunity to learn more about Cassie and the Mark. 

Cover LOVE?  I love purple, so I was immediately drawn to this cover.  It is very pretty and the illumination in the picture relates to the story.  Not to mention that every time I see a seeding dandelion, I think of the book.

**UPDATE: The is going to be a sequel to the Mark. It is titled The Vision and can be expected to hit shelves September of 2011!

For more information about Jen Nadol or The Mark, visit her website or you can find her on her blog
The Mark can be purchased at popular booksellers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Follow this link to read my interview with Jen Nadol. 

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like...
1, Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
2. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
3. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


Melissa said...

Great review! I can't wait to read this book :)

Lea said...

Great review! I hope there will be a sequel, or else that ending is unsatisfying.

Dahlia (TheBookShopaholic) said...

I'd really like to read this. I'll keep my eyes out for it.

Book Monster said...

I loved the Dark Divine and the Beautiful Creatures,so I'll certainly be checking this out. Awesome review!!

Book Monster said...

I loved the Dark Divine and the Beautiful Creatures,so I'll certainly be checking this out. Awesome review!!

Becky said...

What a brilliant review! I love books with ethical questions. I will definitely read this!

Michelle said...

Very nice review. I love the concept behind this one so I'm going to have to check it out. :)

Book Crazy Jenn said...

Awesome review, I also liked this one :)

Nina said...

Good review. The story sounds very nice and interesting to read.

Juju at Tales of said...

Great review. I'm a sucker for blue covers my self :)

Stephanie said...

I love this review ... it is beautifully written! It sounds like this is an intelligent, imaginative book, one that stands out in the YA paranormal genre. I can't wait to read it. By the way, I'm a new follower.

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