Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Vesper (Vesper#1)
Author: Jeff Sampson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 01/25/2011
ISBN: 0061992763

Once in a while you'll come across a book that really keeps you reading. Not your average page turner, but something that really excites you & keeps you reading. This is one of those books.

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely
not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Where to start? First off, I love how realistic the characters are. Emily doesn't have some unrealistic quirk to her & while she's definitely not one of the "beautiful people" she's not the specific target of anyone's ridicule. (Her friend Megan did have that dubious honor at one point in her past, though.) She could literally be one of any thousands of average teenage girls out there. That's what makes her nocturnal changes into the wild child Emily all that more potent. Another thing worth crowing about is that there's no romance in this book. Sure, Emily has hormones but those take a back seat to her fright over how she's been acting & how it's been impacting her daytime life. Again, another touch of realism. (There will probably be romance in the next book, though.)

The only thing about it I could say kept me from enjoying it as much as I'd like is that when we DO discover what's going on with Emily, it kind of comes a little out of left field. Sampson does a good job of trying to blend it into the story but when the discovery is revealed it's kind of "huh... that's a surprise- doesn't entirely make sense, but I'll run with it". It's not anything that will ruin the book for you but it might make you step out of the story for a minute.

Overall this really was well worth reading & I can tell that this series is going to be pretty popular, up there with greats such as Soul Screamers & Wicked Lovely.

(ARC provided by Amazon Vine)

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