Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: HarperTeen (March 16, 2010)
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.
I thought this was a very fun book. It combined a scary, mystery element with paranormal abilities and a very realistic romance. I tend to enjoy the romantic struggle instead of actual relationships in YA novels because they are so cheesy! This one had the possible "unrequited love" and realistic teen angst and feelings. That made the eventual relationship that much more sweet. I didn't dread reading about their flirtations and the whispering of sweet nothings like I tend to to in other novels. It is currently one of the best romances in the YA books I have read so far.
The real meat of the book lies with Violets "ability" to sense dead bodies around her. They leave echos in the form of sounds or colors. She has always been drawn to them since she was a little girl. Mostly she has just found mauled wood animals, up until now that is. Once Violet realizes there is a serial killer in her small Washington town, she is determined to use her ability to stop this maniac before he kills any more innocent girls. The premise is very exciting and most of the time it keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing whats going to happen. Just when you think the mystery is solved, you get hit with something even more sinister.
There are random chapters where you read from the killer's perspective. I thought that was definitely enjoyable and added the to suspense of the novel. It was kind of creepy though, which some people might not like.
Bottom line is, Kimberly Derting was able to combine 3 great aspects into one remarkable novel. Readers who enjoy exciting romance, unique paranormal abilities, and a startling mystery should pick this one up. I, for one, am looking forward to reading the next in the series Desires of the Dead in hopes that it can live up to this one.