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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Psychic Befriends "Weird" Girl in "Every Other Day" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published by: Egmont USA
Pages: 362
Release Date: 12/2011

Book Summary:

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

The Bookish Dame Tells All:

Well, really, do you think that Summary tells it all?  Of course not.  First of all, Kali isn't what she seems, even to herself.  And, secondly neither are any of her friends or would-be friends...or her family...or theirs, for that matter.  This is a book that calls for investigation, at the very least!

"Every Other Day" is a completely delicious book filled with surprises and  intriguing people catching even a jaded, constant-reader like me happily off guard!  I was spun around with the fast-moving details and the excitement of Kali's hourly traipses between the darkness and light.  She was incognito during the day at school, or trying to be...and then the vibrant, bigger-than-life huntress of preternatural monsters during the night.  So woman warrior, yet, so vulnerable to the ordinary social traps of the American high school.

Within the very entertaining plot of "Every Other Day" is Ms  Barnes's helpful advice and gentle message to YAs.  Through her beautifully drawn characters:  Syklar (the little psychic ringleader); Bethany (the not so special after all, glamorous cheerleader); Elliot (the hunky, confused big brother & boyfriend); and Kali (the oddly luminous protagonist and narrator of the story), Ms Barnes is able to cull together the moral of her story.  That moral seems to be that "sometimes the decisions you have to make aren't always easy or even 'right,' they just have to be made for the greater good."  And, she tells us that life isn't easy, and when we get knocked down we can either choose to be down or choose to get up and fight.  It's our choice. 

Ms Barnes poses the theme of the difficulty in navigating inner (often parental) voices and personal choices young adults have to make as they come into adulthood.  Growing in teen years and beyond, there is the struggle for autonomy, while at the same time, there is also the pull to remain in the safety of childhood "protectors" and parents, even if those parents prove to be at a loss and failing, themselves.  When recognition of the parent as human and "broken" by life in their own ways happens, young adults are left to examine themselves as individuals, and to "choose to get up" and go on with their own lives...to choose to accept and love their parents, or not.

While "Every Other Day" is a book about the joy-ride and the fright-nights of high school...it is also about discovery...self-discovery, discovering the world around us, discovering the people we thought we knew and could trust, and trusting the people we thought we couldn't count on.  It's a beautifully written book by an author who writes with spot-on clarity and character-building.

Great paranormal book, great read for the YA crowd; and, perfect for parents who wonder "what's up?"

4 stars



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