Publication date: August 2009
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
All Madison wanted was the spend the summer in Hawaii with her parents. But, when that trip is cancelled so they can go on a cheap and boring vacation to a tiny beach town, Madison is angry and upset. There seems to be nothing to do there, but take photos. When those photos start showing people who were not there when she took the shots, she's starting to get worried. Especially when they turn up dead. Can she figure out what is going on before it's too late?
Things I Liked:
I was most intrigued with the way Madison changed over the course of the book. She seemed a little bit stereotypical at the beginning and her transformation was expected, but still I enjoyed the journey. I liked the interactions she had with her family and how each of them dealt differently with their changed circumstances. I loved even more how she and her best friend from before don't give up on each other. Even when things are so different and they don't live close by, they kept that going. I find that the most satisfying part of the book. I also really liked Duncan as a person. He was the one I'd like to be friends with the most. One other thing I thought was pretty unique was the way this book looked at people who suffered from the housing market drop. Also, it didn't really try to hide the horrible effects it had on people who were so deeply in debt and living way beyond their means. Definitely not something you get often in a young adult book.
Things I Didn't Like:
The paranormal camera aspect did nothing for me. That almost seemed like a completely unnecessary device to keep the plot moving. I thought the book's strengths lied more with the realistic portrayal of X and how she interacted with those around her, friends old and new, as well as her parents. I would have left that whole story out (and it didn't show up very much until near the end either). The ending wrapped up almost a little too neatly. Not that she got everything she wanted, but things did work out so nicely for them, especially with a house, that it felt a little too unreal. Something more realistic, like the trashy apartment complex, would have been better, I think.
The Mark by Jen Nadol
A little like Evermore by Alyson Noel
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
a very few
Overall rating: ***
What books do you think would do better without paranormal aspects?
If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage