Friday, January 27, 2012

Paranormal Pick: Vesper

Vesper (Book One, The Deviants series)
by Jeff Sampson
Balzer + Bray
320 pages

Blogger's Note: Book two, Havoc, is now available (Jan. 24, 2012)

From its eerily gorgeous cover to its action-packed plot, Vesper is a debut novel with punch. Feisty and funky geek girl Emily Webb is a mousy, timid teen who loves books and watching cheesy movie marathons. She would rather spend Friday nights in her bedroom alone with her books than partying or clubbing. When another girl named Emily is shot and killed, Emily Webb begins feeling a little--no, a lot--strange.

Something is happening to her that is unexplainable. She becomes Nighttime Emily after 8:00 p.m. each night, dressing up in her stepsister Dawn's clubbing clothes, jumping from her second story bedroom window and landing unhurt, running at a non-human pace, talking smack to strangers, flirting with older men, drinking alcohol, visiting nightspots, sneaking into downtown clubs, you name it--this is not the behavior of meek Daytime Emily. She "changes" and becomes a wolf, developing a hyper-sensitive sense of smell and running at super-human speeds with lupine agility.

Then a second student is shot--popular football player Dalton McKinney. Emily begins to wonder if the two students were somehow related. She researches Emily's and Dalton's names and finds out both kids' parents worked for a company called BioZenith--what is this company and how is it related to what's happening with Emily?

A man is stalking her; he is the same man who killed the other Emily and tried to kill Dalton. Someone is hunting the pack. She enlists the help of her smartmouth friend Megan Reed (Reedy) and asks her to come over and watch over her so she doesn't "change." When Nighttime Emily starts to take over, she secretly drugs BFF Megan, steals her car, drives to Seattle, and goes "hunting" for others in her pack. Emily can now smell the other wolves, and it's about to get her in big trouble--it will likely get her killed!

When she finds out friend Spencer is just like her, they decide to visit the BioZenith Company. Later, Emily is captured, held captive and interrogated until she is rescued.

Vesper is a great start to a new series: Deviants, and if you can suspend disbelief, it is entertaining. What I questioned was the lack of parental intervention; Emily is breaking rules, staying out all night, drinking, clubbing, and is finally kidnapped, yet her father seems totally out of it. He puts her on a very weak restriction, yet allows Emily's friend Megan to spend the night.

Highly recommended grades 9-up. The publisher says grade 8 and up, but due to alcohol, two girls making out, Spenser and Emily kill the slayer who comes after them ripping out his throat, clubbing, sneaking around, and murder, I would say use your best judgment.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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