PUBLISHER: Macmillian Children’s Books
RELEASE DATE: Sept 2011
FORMAT: Paperback, 297 pages
GENRE: Paranormal, Young Adult
Last year, Pierce died – just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it’s his job to usher souls from one realm to the next. There’s a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says. ( Goodreads)
The story starts with our heroine, Pierce, as she reflects on the myth of Persephone and the similarity in their fates. While Pierce wasn’t kidnapped by the god Hades or rescued by her mother like Persephone, she did end up in the Underworld and was destined to stay there until she took things into her own hands. Two years before when Pierce was just fifteen, she slipped and fell into her family’s swimming pool, hitting her head and subsequently drowned. Pierce ends up in the Underworld and literally runs into the mysterious and handsome John who she remembers meeting when she was seven. What a coincidence! John believes she is destined to stay with him in the Underworld but she manages to escape from him and death.
Since here return her life hasn’t been the same and the ‘near death experience’ irrevocably changes her. Her life starts on a downward spiral and she ends up getting kicked out her exclusive school in Connecticut. Her mother, newly divorced moves them back to her home town of Isla Huesos to start again. Pierce struggles in her new school especially after meeting John again in the local cemetery. He is back in her life and warns her that her life is in danger. He lashes out at her attempts to apologise for fleeing from him in the Underworld by demanding that she stay away from him. Can she start a new life and put her past and the near death experience behind her or is her link to the mysterious John too strong? You will have to read ABANDON to find out as I don’t want to tell you the whole plot in this review!
The majority of this book was spent with Pierce reflecting on the times she met John – when she was seven following the death of her grandfather, following her own death and then twice more in Connecticut. Events in the present have her reflecting on events in her recent past including the death of her best friend Hilary and the teacher that causes it. John was responsible for the punishment of her teacher which she was blamed for and that resulted in her expulsion from school. While her mother tries to carve out a new life for them Pierce spends time with her grandmother, her uncle who has just been released from jail and cousin Alex. The dynamic between Pierce and her uncle is stronger than that between her and her cousin who is her age. Alex almost felt like an extraneous character and the only real tie he has to the story is to drive her to school. Pierce’s uncle Chris has more of a role to play in her life and what happens to her on Isla Huesos and the reason for this is evident in the final chapters of the story.
I have mixed feelings about ABANDON. When I first read it I really liked it but when I looked back at what had happened in order to write this review I realised not a lot had. I do think however, that Cabot wrote in a true teenage voice. I found it a relief that Pierce stumbled and stammered when she spoke rather than constantly spouting out overtly mature and profound statements as in other YA I have read. I also liked the fact that Pierce chose to spend time with the popular kids in school when given the opportunity rather than sticking with her more unpopular cousin and his friend. I thought this was more realistic as being popular is a big draw for most teenagers, especially one who has been ostracised in the past.
However, on the downside not a lot happens other than Pierce continually replaying past events. While I appreciate that her past deeply influences her personality it’s a bit like reading a diary which got to be a bit tedious in the end. Also, John doesn’t seem to do much in the novel to make him stand out or anyone to be swooning over. In fact he appears to be first attracted to Pierce by her looks rather than anything else. This can be fairly typical in a lot of romance but considering they first meet when she is seven makes it just a bit creepy. Cabot does tease us with both a plot resolution and a cliff hanger (albeit a small one) which I thought was thought was quite a good twist but I just wish more had happened in the previous chapters to keep the tension all the way through.
I thought that this was quite a good read despite the fact not a lot happens. Finally, an author that can write like a teenager as Pierce spoke like an average teenager and wasn’t spouting poetic and overly verbose comments. There were other factors that made this an enjoyable read beside the story itself. There were a number of sensory factors about the book that had more to do with Cabot having a great publisher than her being a great author such as the lovely paper, the substantial cover and the cover image that made you want to stare at it (and turn the book upside down) all the time. Sometimes you just can’t beat an actual book over an e-book.
On the downside ABANDON isn’t too much of a challenging read nor is there much to commend either Pierce or John as the heroes of the tale but perhaps there will be something of note in future novels other than their good looks. It was however, a quick read and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of YA or actually IS a young adult to get this book.
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