Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back from hiatus to review a truly awesome YA book!

So since my last post, which was WAY too long ago, I've discovered two things while teaching my first college course:
  1. I love teaching. 
  2. Teaching takes a lot of time!
I was hoping to return to the world of regular blogging this summer, but a summer course has popped up so I can only hope. Nonetheless, I had to interrupt my hiatus to review a fantastic book I just finished.

Meet Reagan. In many ways, Reagan is just your typical teenager, worrying about Homecoming court, cheering for her football-star boyfriend, and pouring over the latest paranormal YA novel. Yep, pretty normal... oh, except for that whole she-might-be-a-werewolf thing.

Chasing Memories begins as Reagan is camping in Yellowstone with her family. She wakes up one night to her brother screaming. Suddenly, he is gone and something massive rakes at her back before her father scares it away. Literally overnight, everything in Reagan's life changes. The tragic loss of her brother is followed by the unearthing of family secrets and some tough realizations about who the people in her life really are. Additionally, Reagan is craving meat and having some wild dreams about a creature with wolf's eyes.

When Rafe, the new kid, rolls into town, weird gets weirder. Rafe seems to understand all too well what is happening to her, more than Reagan does herself. But she can't be sure if he truly wants to help her, or if there is some darker drive behind his enigmatic smile.

Chasing Memories had me from the first word. Tia Bach has woven a mystery and given her readers a perfect, snarky, and oh-so accurate teenage voice to help us navigate through. Reagan doesn't so much come to life as she vaults off the page in your face. Nonetheless, where other "typical teen" narrators might annoy (hello, Bella Swan), the muted desperation to understand what is happening that lies beneath her teenage 'tude makes Reagan unquestionably sympathetic. I felt for her, I wanted to hug her, and I wanted to know what in the heck was happening to her.

Ultimately, the genius of Bach's story is in its ambiguity. There were many, many moments where I found myself wondering if Reagan was joining the ranks of the paranormal teens she so loved to read about, or if grief and imagination were actually driving her experience. Either way, I devoured every word, and as with Bach's first book, Depression Cookies, I found myself falling off the last page and wanting more.

I hope there will be a sequel-- and soon-- but for now, this one is highly recommended!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so honored that you read it and loved it. Truly. I may just have to print this and re-read it on those insecure writer days. ;-)