McKayla’s aunt Avril has always been a little odd. She travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, to the chagrin of McKayla’s mother, who doesn’t like it when she talks magic with her daughters. Now, Avril is visiting Sun Valley in small-town Idaho where McKayla and her family live in order to investigate a serial killer who – it appears – possesses her victims. McKayla goes with her aunt during a case to interview the widow of a murder victim. There she discovers that maybe Aunt Avril’s psychic abilities are magic and run in the family because McKayla can feel the window’s emotions–she’s empathic.
But that’s not even the strangest thing, because despite outward tears the widow’s inside emotions are not what McKayla expects a widow to be experiencing: she’s not sad, she’s angry.
AWAKENING (Amazon) is author Christy Dorriy’s debut novel, and it’s a cute read a lot of teenage girls will enjoy; parents will like that it’s clean with no profanity or sex. McKayla is your typical teenage girl who’s crushing on the cute boy at school, loves to dance ballet, and mostly gets along with her family (when they’re not being weird). She goes to school, has a best friend, and helps her mom out with her baking business. But at her most recent ballet recital, she discovers a concurrent recital in another auditorium for Irish dance and suddenly McKayla is hooked.
The problem is finding a teacher that doesn’t mean having to drive clear to Jackson Hole. By accident, McKayla discovers that the janitor at her school, Rourke, dances Irish and she convinces him to teach her. The only problem? Rourke is mute and a little grouchy about being bothered. But his passion for dance is clear, and McKayla is determined.
The story is easy to read, the prose clear and precise. Forward movements is also clear, even if plot threads drop suddenly only to be picked up later when it’s convenient. The story is less about the mystery behind Avril’s investigation and more about McKayla’s magic and the relationships with the people around her. I was a little frustrated with contrivances in the romantic relationships in an attempt to create tension – these behaviors/problems were and felt forced. We learn about Rourke, and while he’s an important character who directly influences the storyline, he wasn’t the main PoV narrator, so his story felt shallow and incomplete. Another important element of the book was the magic, how it’s inherited, how it manifests differently between people, and how it works. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but still was an integral part of the story, and despite a few minor inconsistencies, was a nice addition.
The potential events at the end of the book were broadcast early on, making the climax too predictable, even though Dorrity attempted to shake things up a little with “unexpected” changes. The story wraps up cleanly, but hints at sequels. Worth checking out for your teenage girls, especially since it’s free on Kindle.
- Recommended Age: 12+
- Language: None
- Violence: Minor, and nothing bloody
- Sex: Teenage hormones and kissing
It’s also currently FREE (Amazon) on Kindle.