(b) overblown and depressing
(c) clever and fast-paced, while including the attributes of (a)
(d) dull and unconvincing
One part of the agreement is that Carly continue to study. That way, it will look less suspicious when her score climbs 500 points in a few short weeks. It seems the only way to carry on is to hire a tutor. EVEN if it's the school geek, Ronald Gross (rhymes with "floss"). EVEN if said school geek is completely in love with her. EVEN if that might call forth complications with her boyfriend, the captain of the school lacrosse team. But through the weeks of interactive learning, Carly discovers there is more to Ron/Ronnie/Ronald than meets the eye. With his help, she is rapidly and visibly improving. But when there is no need for The Taker any longer, getting out of the pact is harder than she had expected. Even impossible. And as the search for The Taker is stepped up, Carly begins to wonder- will the desperation of her past keep her from having any future at all?
I really enjoyed this novel. The plot moved along quickly and in a perfectly plausible fashion. And if you've been through high school (or are still in it), you can completely relate to the emotions and stresses of Carly's every day life. JM Steele encompassed every element of life, including (but not limited to): friends, boy/girlfriends, stress, tests, road blocks, expectations, failure, and secrets. Carly dealt with her problems through humor and quick thinking, although she sometimes found herself saying or doing things she didn't mean to. This was a surprisingly human and excellent part of her character. I really cared about how she would end up, and was crossing my fingers that the repercussions of The Taker (the character) wouldn't be too horrible.
Not to mention the continuous plot twists. The ending was one big firework of ????WHAT???? And that's really all I can say to keep from ruining the story. My one complaint is that Carly stayed with her imbecilic, Neanderthal boyfriend for as long as she did. It made me lose a little bit of respect for her, if it was ever so small an amount. All the same, I would recommend this book as a great beach read, anytime read, or fast paced in-the-car/on-the-bus on the way to school/work read (might take a few of those to finish it - and please don't read and drive at the same time).
6.5 out of 7 for an intriguing and clever YA novel that should be more popular than it is.
Looking for Other JM Steele books and Still in Ending-Shock,