A review by Amanda.
Julia Long, a sixteen year old in Minnesota, is woefully unprepared for the upheaval that siblings Graham and Clara bring to her life when they move into town from South Carolina. Bubbly Clara instantly befriends the awkwardly shy Julia, while Graham alternates between intense and aloof. This makes Julia’s insta-crush on him even more embarrassing, and the weird dreams she’s been having about both Graham and Clara don’t help at all. Julia’s dreams feature cloaked figures, swampy woods, and ritualistic ceremonies, as well as a mysterious young woman who bears a resemblance to Julia’s absent mother, claiming to be a guide. Between her father’s overprotective attitude, her best friend’s desertion, and Clara and Graham both hiding things, Julia is fed up with the secrets and lies. Slowly, she starts to piece together the clues she can garner from any source she can, including her dreams. Slowly, she’s finding the answers she needs. The question is, will she be able to figure out the truth before her ignorance puts her in danger?
Phoenix Awakens built the suspense at a slow but steady pace, and it really picked up in the second half. Julia was a fairly average teen, and utterly relatable. She didn’t make friends easily, quietly rebelled against her father’s strict rules – only the unreasonable ones – and was just trying to make it through high school each day without crossing paths with Libby, the resident mean girl. Graham and Clara throw everything into disarray from day one. Being thrust into one tricky situation after another revealed a strength of character that Julia didn’t know she had. Her instant attraction to Graham was predictable, but the unique aspects of the supernatural side of the story countered that quite nicely. Clara and Samantha balanced Julia in different ways, and I would love to see more development of both characters in future books. I am eager to read the next book and find out more about Julia and how the events from book one will affect her life.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
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