Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Blurb from Goodreads:
...and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand.
After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.
Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?
But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.
For real this time.
Caution: this will contain mild spoilers.
I got this book free on my Kindle through Amazon when they offered me a free book if I signed up for their Teen novels newsletters. Among the choices, I chose this book because it was written by Jennifer L. Armentrout and sounded the closest to something that I would enjoy. Now I have never read anything by JLA before so I was pretty excited since I hear nothing but wonderful reviews for the Lux series. So I was a little bummed out that this book took me four months to actually finish. The start was really slow and I just kept putting it down and picking up another book instead. Every time I decided to give this another try, I would read about ten pages and then sit it back down. I think it felt like it was just a little too reminiscent of Shatter Me with Ember being able to kill with just her touch and plus being surrounded by others with special gifts as well (this always reminded me of X-Men (lol). So about twenty or so books later, I finally set out to finish this book once and for all and I would not rest until I had it done!
Ember is a bit of a loner in the beginning of the book. Ever since the accident, she is afraid to get too close to anyone for fear of hurting them. She has one friend named Adam and her sister, the only two people in the world she actually has in her life. Her mother is catatonic and has not said a word to her in two years. So after another freak accident in the grocery store parking lot where Ember accidentally kills her ex-boyfriend who got a little too close, Ember finds herself ripped away from her life, her school, her house, and within the residence of Cromwell, who for some unknown reason seems to find the "Gifteds" and brings them together. As Ember begins to try to control her "curse" with the help of Hayden Cromwell, the sexy guy who seems to know a lot about her, she unlocks the secrets to the accident that changed her life.
So, let's get down to business: Ember got on my nerves, plain and simple. She was overly accusing of Cromwell and his entire family and it got a little annoying. I admit it does throw you a loop when she finds out that the accident that killed her father and well, her, wasn't in fact an accident was shocking. But the fact that she does nothing but point fingers to Cromwell the entire book was irritating. I know Cromwell seemed a little suspicious and I would have suspected him too since he seemed too keen on wanting Olivia and her gift of bringing back the dead, but it wasn't like Ember actually took the time to get to know him either. She shyed away from him, she avoided pretty much everyone in the house and made them all extremely uncomfortable, which resulted in no one liking her and wanting her gone. They were all already afraid of her because of her gift and it didn't help that Ember's emotions were dark and isolated herself that made everyone even more afraid of her. Aside from all of this, I really enjoyed her character. I enjoyed reading her progress with trying to come to terms with her gift. It was kind of heart breaking to learn that she found herself to be so ugly and unlovable because of, what she considered, her "curse. So it brought a tear to my eye when she finally realized that she could take responsibility over this "curse" and control it. She wasn't soullesss or "unnatural and wrong" she was actually gifted like the others. Once she understood this, she was able to touch without killing. This made me feel so happy for her! Now she can have the life that she deserved and always longed for.
Now let's talk about the gorgeous Hayden. Hayden is an enerpath and I loved him. I loved him so much. He was just so cute and always looking out for Ember even when people warned him to stay away from her. Now I do find it a bit weird that he basically sort of stalked her for two years and said he loved her just by watching her, but it was still sweet to see how their relationship progressed. He knew he would never hurt Ember with his gift and regardless of everything Ember believed, he knew she would never hurt him or anyone and she wasn't a freak. He looked at her with such love and didn't even falter when he saw all her scars. He was just so perfect to me. *swoon*
Now what I really liked about this book was the big shocker twist in the end. The whole book, you are wondering who actually caused the not-so-accident and what happened to her mother. Who wiped out her mother's memory to make her believe Ember is actually dead? Why were they after Olivia? Who is bullying her at school? Who is killing dead animals and stuffing them in her locker? And what comes out is shocking! I did not expect any of it! My jaw literally dropped to the floor when I was reading. But I really enjoyed the ending. I enjoyed the comings together of stories intermingling and that Ember finds out she was not the only one who had her gift and even though that girl's fate led to a suicide, that didn't mean that Ember had the same end She could have a better life. I loved that she finally felt like she had a home among Cromwell and his children. I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't perfect by a long shot, but it was still enjoyable once it finally picked up. Now if this is one of JLA's "worst" books (popular opinion from her fans' reviews) than I am excited to read more of her novels to see how good those ones actually are. I am glad that it got better because I was really starting to doubt if I'd ever finish it so I am overjoyed that I ended up actually enjoying the end and the story line.
Do I recommend it? Hmm, probably.
But wait, so who did wipe her mother's memory? We will never know...