Nalena Maxwell has been branded ‘The Waste’ at her new school, due to her mom's obsessive paper hoarding. Nalena desperately wants something to change in her life, but when she receives a sign (and it's the wrong dang one) inviting her into a mysterious, ancient community, too much changes. What she knew of her family, what she thought of her life and what she believed about her future, is no longer applicable. Seventeen years worth of family skeletons come crashing into Nalena's life and it is the boy...the one that smiles at her like he wants to hear everything she'll ever say...that already knows her powerful secrets. But it is only Nalena that can choose between protecting the life that is already crumbling beneath her feet and the one that might sacrifice everything she could ever have.
The story starts out our heroine, Nalena. She is living with her mom who has a compulsion and a horder of paper with names and dates. This, as well as the harassment by bulling at school, helps us to understand how isolated Nalena feels and how strong she is by surviving everything and still finds ways to cope.
When we meet Garrett the world starts to evolve for Nalena and a world full of trusting people and important secret missons become the focus. I admit that during this time my emotions mirrored Nalena as her frustration grew as she became more aware of how much of this world she didn't know. I was upset with her mother as important information was kept from her and found her parental abilities lacking. Nalena needed to understand her new found world and make decisions. You can't make those important decisions in a vacuum. Fortunately, we do get answers enough for us to feel like she can make those important decisions and I softened quite a bit with her mother as her motives and parental involvement became much clearer.
Yes, I did love Garrett and enjoyed their bit of romance. However, there were times I really had problems with him. He knew what kind of existence she had at school, so I was upset when he wasn't completely straight with her (and where was he prior?). He had to know it was hard for her to trust and would have liked him to be much more upfront with Nalena. He, however, did nothing too bad and it made sense for a kid without full knowledge of the world. I think he redeemed himself when he made no bones about who he was with and who he loved to their classmates.
I give this book 4 stars. It's a interesting YA and I really didn't expect to be so involved with these characters. I recommend this book to those that enjoy PNR YA. I really can't wait to read the next book, Keystone.
I won this book from Heather from Buried in Books (and told I needed to read it, she was right) and no compensation for my review was given.
Check your local ebook seller... it's free!! WHEE!