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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong - 4/5 stars

Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, cougars are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat . . . unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.


So I was very pleasantly surprised by this one! The teens at my library love Kelley Armstrong which is awesome because not only is she Canadian, she's from my province. Let me tell you some of the things I loved about The Gathering:

  • unapologetically Canadian! Uses terms like 'cougar' instead of 'mountain lion', for instance, and takes place on Vancouver Island. That being said, I still think it will appeal to American readers (the same way American books still appeal to my teens). It was just nice reading a Canadian book that didn't try to be American.
  • Really great main female character! Maya felt three-dimensional because she had interests like taking care of animals and was interested in her native heritage. She's smart but not annoyingly so. She's strong but that doesn't mean she doesn't feel things or have a vulnerable side.
  • Native heritage! It was cool reading about the various native myths and learning more about Maya's heritage. Hopefully this will be further explored in future books.
  • No love triangle! Maya's friend Daniel is just that - a friend. I hope that doesn't change in later books.
  • Not the same ol' paranormal -  I won't spoil you with what the paranormal twist is in this book, but suffice to say we haven't really seen it before and I think it's fairly well done.
  • Doesn't end on a cliff-hanger! There are definitely loose ends and things to figure out but the first book wraps up nicely and didn't leave me wanting to throw it across the room. 
Overall, loved it! Recommending to paranormal fans and fans of Canadian YA.

(reviewed from an ARC provided by the publisher)

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