A review by Amanda.
At three years old, Hope was abducted and missing for two days. She was found two days later, her abductor mysteriously burnt to a crisp, unharmed except for a tattoo-like mark on the back of her neck that wasn’t there before. The ordeal causes Hope’s father to become obsessed with keeping her safe and researching every possible biblical meaning for the mark on her neck. Flash forward thirteen years: her parents have been separated for years and Hope has finally convinced a judge to let her live with her hard-working mother. Enjoying her newfound freedom despite struggling to fit in at school, Hope makes friends with her handsome, aloof classmate Michael. She doesn’t understand why she’s drawn to him, especially when his mood swings catch her unawares and his frequent disappearances make her wonder if he’s avoiding her. Add this to the continuing confusion around her Mark, the taunts of a cruel boy at school, and trying to get to know her mother again, it’s no wonder that Hope just wants a bit of stability in her life. Of course, that’s before she discovers the truth about Michael and her Mark…
Overall, I enjoyed the premise of this story. It started with a mystery that hooked me in right away and continued to baffle and mislead throughout the first half of the book. The part that kept me from completely loving it was the romantic aspect between Michael and Hope. It quickly moved into cliché territory, with the forbidden love, and the lack of equality in their on-and-off relationship. Michael is domineering and secretive, for her protection, while the usually cautious Hope loses any regard for her safety when he shows her any signs of affection. While this can be typical behavior for teenage girls, it doesn’t have to be the default in YA novels. I did enjoy Hope’s friend Tabby, and several other supporting characters, all of whom I hope to see more of in future books. I recommend this book to those who like Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed trilogy, and the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
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