Monday, January 4, 2010
The Mark - Review and Giveaway
If you knew that someone was going to die today, would you tell them? The Mark explores this question in an amazing story that is going to be published in just a few short weeks. Here is the excerpt about the book:
Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back. The one time she pointed it out taught her not to do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today. Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her? Most importantly, if you know today is someone's last, should you tell?
The first line from The Mark is: There is nothing like the gut-hollowing experience of watching someone die, especially when you know it's coming. Whew! From the very beginning I was hooked on this story. Cassie follows a guy with the mark off the bus and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. We watch as she figures out what she has been seeing her whole life - the mark around a bunch of kids playing in a schoolyard and even a glow around her beloved grandmother. There have been a few "I see dead people" books out over the years, but don't be fooled - this one was completely different from anything I've read. I have to admit - I'm picky with my YA. I get frustrated with unnatural dialogue or teen characters doing things that aren't in their nature, but there was none of that in this book. The dialogue was spot-on, the action was just right and best of all, the writing is fast-paced and intelligent, causing you to think hard about what you would do if you were in Cassie's situation.
There is a romance thread in The Mark, and that adds a second layer of excitement which Jen handles in an unexpected way - I was cheering when Cassie makes her hard decisions. Jen didn't opt for the easy way out and the effort really pays off in the book.
I love the premise of seeing a mark on someone when it's their day to die, and frankly when I read about it the first time I wished I'd thought of it first. Good thing I didn't, because Jen turned a good idea into an awesome book. You should go out and grab a copy when it debuts on January 19th - you can preorder it here (I already did because I want a hard copy for myself before it is covered with those pesky award stickers). Better yet, you can win an ARC from me (in full disclosure, we have the same publisher, although I would love The Mark no matter who put it out). All you have to do is go to Jen's cool website, and then come back here and tell me in the comments something that you notice about it. Anything - what is the background like? Something funny in her bio? Comment before midnight on January 10th and I will draw a random winner on January 11th from all of the comments and send it right along to you. This international contest is open to anyone over the age of 13.
You may notice on her blog that Jen is giving away an ARC of Dirty Little Secrets, so while you're there, go ahead and enter her contest too. With the upcoming release of The Mark as well as other great books from the Tenners list, 2010 is shaping up to be a great year!