Meg's Review:I really enjoyed this adventure. It's a world that I hope I seriously get to jump back into. I loved getting to know Jane and the crazy world she lives in. She is very real in her age and actions. I loved that she was very relatable, as well as the others in this world. I jumped right into their lives and feel right back into high school. Ugh. But in a good Ugh way. This book was face paces and jumped around the world with its mythical aspects and mystery. I really enjoyed getting to learn about other mythology and getting to know just enough backgrounds of some stuff to get hooked. Akira and his wonderful shady-ness grabs me from the start. I Loved his personality and the fact that we weren't shoved in the face with him. I liked the storyline itself. It was attention keeping and kept a good pace through the book. I really liked that it wasn't just a build up to a huge epic battle, but that it was build=ups to multiple things in the book. It was more realistic and made for a better story in my opinion. All in All it was a great book. I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one!
Book Synopsis:Jane Alexander’s best friend, Maria, vanished without a trace for seven days only to walk into her parent’s house as if nothing had happened. She claims to have no memory of her missing week but explodes with rage whenever Jane questions her about her disappearance. An unexplained illness soon forces Maria to be bedridden, and Jane’s fear grows as Maria begins to systematically cut her out of her life by ignoring all of her calls and texts. She knows that whatever happened while Maria was missing is the root of her friend’s uncharacteristic behavior, but Jane also harbors her own dark secret from that night. Complicating matters further is Akira Yamaguchi, the hot basketball star from Japan who seems to be overly interested in Maria and her disappearance. When Jane is paired up with him to do a research paper comparing mythological beings from different cultures, things become even more surreal as Akira treats the myths as fact. She soon discovers she is no longer fighting to learn the truth behind Maria’s disappearance and Akira’s reasons for coming to her town. Instead, she finds herself in a struggle for her life when she is forced to confront a monster from the very legends she is studying.
I tapped my fingers on my steering wheel as I waited for the light to turn, and eyed the building that was just across the intersection from where I sat. Unlike the boy’s school, Appleton High (home of the Ravens and NOT Johnny Appleseed, which someone told me had once been suggested for our school mascot. The horror!) was an elegant building that gave the impression that it was trying very hard to pretend that it was some type of glorious plantation instead of an institution for containing teenagers and teaching them “the facts of life”. Really, if it weren’t for the parking lot, the entire campus would succeed in its attempt to look like one of the glorious mansions of old, with columns lining the front of the main building and the classrooms sprawling out behind it like some long bridal train just waiting for someone to step on it as it makes its way up the stairs.
Once at school I parked in my designated parking spot, something the school assigned to every driving student in an effort to cut down on demolition derby style battles for certain locations. The seniors were given the choice places near the school entrance and the freshmen the ones furthest away. I dragged my book bag out from the passenger side and heaved its bulk onto my back. My stomach clenched with nerves as my eyes ran quickly over all the other teenagers who were hanging out in front of the main doors, waiting for friends and classmates to catch up with them. I quickly called home and told Mom where I was, but the knot of dread tightened the longer I waited and I prepared to fire off a semi frantic text message after I hung up. Where was she?
I sighed and closed my eyes as that familiar voice rang out over the din and chatter of the other students, and I turned with a smile to great my oldest and best friend, Maria Dupree. I quickly ran my eyes over her, taking in her appearance as my tense muscles relaxed and I met her warm gaze. We had known each other since birth, born in the same hospital two days apart to families who happened to live beside each other for the first nine years of our lives until my family had moved across town to the old church. Maria was tall, willowy and graceful with jet-black hair that hung arrow straight down her back and chocolate brown eyes that almost always seemed to hold a smile.
“Hey,” I greeted. “I was beginning to worry that I had missed you.”
“Not a chance,” Maria said, though I saw her eyes narrow slightly at the relieved tone of my voice. “Just running a little late because I decided I just HAD to have Dunkin Donut coffee on my way here.”
“Ooooooh, I’m jealous,” I moaned as I spotted the travel mug in her hand that she had once declared would never be touched by any other coffee but that of the chain currently under discussion.
“Don’t be, I brought you one, too,” she said and pulled her other hand from where it had been hidden behind her back and handed me my own lovely travel mug of caffeine deliciousness doctored just the way I liked it.
“You are a life saver,” I moaned as I took my first sip and sighed in pleasure as the thick brew warmed me from the inside out.
“I know,” Maria smirked as we began to walk into the hallowed halls of Appleton High School, home to the best Softball team this side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Once you got past the pretentious grandeur of the main building, it became obvious to any visitors that they weren’t being transported into the past but had, instead, entered the one place that is almost unanimously viewed with either awed, fond memories or sheer loathing and hatred, depending on one’s past experience. The floor was covered with industrial tile designed for easy cleaning by over worked janitors and the walls were made of cement and lined with lockers, which were currently spewing their contents into the waiting hands of the student body. This usually put me in mind of some bizarre beehive where the workers gorged themselves on their own honeycomb before they rushed off to a new location. The acoustics were strange, too, sometimes making sounds muffled and indistinct, other times so clear that you could hear a whispered conversation from the other end of the hallway. I think it had something to do with the curved ceiling, but I’m no architect and can only guess.
Maria and I chatted about homework and class on our way to our lockers and then parted ways. I watched her go and dropped a hand to my suddenly churning stomach as her back disappeared around the corner and guilt threatened to buckle my knees right there in the middle of the packed hallway.
Three weeks ago, because of a stupid dare, I had almost been arrested for shoplifting. An unsavory bargain with the store’s clerk had spared me the humiliation of a police ride to the station and a night cooling my heels in a jail cell while I waited for my parents to pick me up. I was supposed to meet Maria at our favorite dinner location after I had finished the dare, but because of getting caught, and what followed afterwards, I hadn’t been able to make it on time.
That night, Maria had vanished for seven days without a single clue as to her whereabouts.