Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publication: HarperCollins (April 12, 2011)
Description: Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.
It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.
My Thoughts: Wow! Breathtaking! I want the sequel NOW. This was a great, action-packed adventure filled with secrets and romance and more secrets. I loved the story. Maya is such a great character. She is mature, level-headed, and smart. She has a love of the outdoors and a gift for healing animals. She has a great relationship with her adopted parents. And, though she tries to not think about it, she has questions about the mother who abandoned her. She is best friends with Daniel who is the "big man on campus" if that is possible in a school with less than 70 students from grades K-12.
Both are still dealing with the loss of Serena who was Maya's best friend and Daniel's girlfriend. This champion swimmer drowned at a lake she had been swimming in for years. Maya didn't swim well enough to save her and Daniel got their too late. Maya has had therapy but still has lots of questions about what happened to her friend.
All of them live in a small, isolated town on Vancouver Island. The town was set up by the St. Cloud Corporation to do medical research. Most of their parents are involved with the company. Maya's dad is the Game Warden for the Park but he was hired by the St. Cloud Corporation. Daniel's mother worked for St. Cloud as a scientist before she left him and his dad with no warning.
When the new boy comes to town, she is fascinated but willing to keep him at arm's length. She recognizes him as a player and doesn't want to be hurt. But he uses a different approach with her - honesty - and she is attracted. But he has major secrets too that impact her life in ways she could not have expected.
This was a wonderful story with great dialog. I loved Maya's voice and grinned at a lot of her comments. She had a very perceptive eye (though maybe a blind spot about Daniel). I really recommend this book to readers who like smart characters, mysteries, romance and a touch of the paranormal. I know they will be as eager for the sequels as I am.
For those who can't wait -- Kelley Armstrong is doing an online story at her Darkest Powers blog. I know I added that blog to my feed reader so that I can keep up. Why don't you?
This tiny voice in my head screamed "Slow down!" but it was so small and so faint that I could barely hear it and I didn't want to. All I felt was Rafe's mouth on mine, his arms around me, his body against me, and I didn't care about anything else. It was like jumping from a cliff, a terrifying, exhilarating, mind-blowing rush, and I didn't want it to end, didn't care where it lead, only wanted to follow.I bought my copy at Amazon. You can get the Kindle book or the hardcover there.