Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

It's been almost two years since Pierce Oliviera died, drowned in the pool behind her house in Connecticut, and she still can't get her life back to normal. Maybe it's because she can't forget about what happened when she was dead, especially about him - even if the doctors tell her it was hallucinations, just a near-death experience. The underground cavern, the two lines of people waiting for the boats by the lake, and the part where Pierce escaped death by throwing a cup of tea in his face - none of it actually happened. Pierce didn't escape - she was resuscitated. He doesn't exist, couldn't possibly exist. Except he does, and he keeps showing up every time Pierce is in trouble, even if no one else seems to notice him. Appearing out of the blue, saving Pierce's life, then vanishing again.

The first time Pierce met gorgeous, tempermental John Hayden, she was 7. At her grandfather's funeral on Isla Huesos, Pierce was waiting in the cemetary when she saw the injured bird. When she tried to help it, it panicked, crashed into a crypt, and died. Pierce was inconsolable - until John walked up out of nowhere and offered to bring the bird back to life. Which he did, even though it was impossible. The next time she saw him, she was dead.

Now Pierce is 17, and she and her mom have moved home to Isla Huesos from Connecticut after her parents' divorce and her inability to cope with life after death at her old school. That, and the horrible thing that happened with her best friend, Hannah Chang, and her math teacher, Mr. Mueller. People just seem to get hurt around Pierce - especially when John's around. Pierce hopes that Isla Huesos will be just the fresh start she needs. And, far away from Connecticut, John shouldn't be putting in any appearances either. Which is exactly what Pierce wants - isn't it?

But when John appears in the Isla Huesos cemetary the night of Pierce's welcome home party, he is just as shocked to see Pierce as she is to see him. Which probably means he didn't follow her there. He's also furious with Pierce for putting herself in danger - again. As it becomes clear that normal isn't in Pierce's future, at least not with John around, Pierce decides it's time to start asking questions. What is John doing on Isla Huesos? Who is he really? Why is he so drawn to Pierce (and the trouble that always seems to follow her around?) And what really happened the day Pierce died?

A lush, tropical modern reimagining of the Persephone and Hades myth, the fabulous Meg Cabot has done it again! More Avalon High than Princess Diaries, Pierce is an awesome heroine who refuses to be the damsel in distress. No straight retelling, you'll love to figure out which pieces of this dark, stormy story are rooted in Greek myth, and which are entirely original. For readers who love strong heroines who have no tolerance for their heroes' brooding (but still can't resist their romance!), fantasy and fairy tale retellings, check out Abandon @ the library! This one's the first of a trilogy, so be prepared for a cliffhanger of an ending - and put book two, Underworld, on your list!

(now reading the very eerie and atmospheric Chime by Franny Billingsley)

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