Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental, Book 1
Release date: April 24, 2012
Published by: Kensington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Imagine you were a teenaged girl, and saw two guys badly beating up another guy in the dark behind school one night. Would you intervene?
Becca Chandler makes the decision to do just this when she saves Chris Merrick from possible death. The thing is, he doesn't seem that thrilled that she saved him. The brothers don't seem that thrilled, or welcoming either. Plus, these brothers are supposed to be dangerous...so why does she keep ending up on his doorstep and paired up in world history with him? Then, the winds seem to change when the New Kid, Hunter, walks into town with the convenient habit of showing up in all the wrong places at all the right times. When it comes to Hunter and Chris, Becca will have to figure out "who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all" because the storm is coming...
My thoughts: Oh how I LOVED this one! Brilliant Brigid! Brilliant! Ok, so I am a complete sucker for elemental stories. I'll admit that freely up front! I'm sure it has everything to do with my fascination with Gaelic traditions, Wiccan beliefs, mythology, and the fact that I'm an Enlgish major and nature nut! But these characters that Brigid created were just GREAT! I loved them and believed them instantly! They were real in every way to me; the good guys, the bad guys, all of them. I saw pieces of kids I know now and pieces of friends I had in high school in both personalities and in lives that were being lived in these characters. They were just great.
Becca's story of bullying was so raw and awful, but also one that was told so well. That darn teacher was so perfectly clueless to the real "bad guy" in the room! It was so frustrating, but it's usually so true! You don't know what's going on right under your nose in your own classroom every single day! :( It makes you feel so helpless. You jump on anything you think it might be because you know there's something evil lurking; it's like you can sense it in the air or something. Becca was also an incredibly reciliant, brave and determined character who showed you everything you'd hope to show a young woman about how to handle herself in the same situations even though she may not have made the best decisions every single time in life. Who has!? Get real!
Those Merrick brothers were just the coolest bunch of testosterone around! I would probably be "just one of the guys" with them if they lived around here! Seriously! They are my kind of people. Outdoorsy. Real. Workers. Helpers when it comes right down to it. And they certainly aren't afraid to stick up for one of their own which is exactly how it should be. Good people.
BTW: You know how usually I hate it when I think I have figured out a key plot element early on, but this time it was more of an element that she was giving away through her descriptions on purpose if you were paying very close attention, but then she made you wait and wait and wait until the bitter, bitter end to see if your hunch was actually right or not so it didn't feel like it does when you usually ruin it for yourself. It was actually a very clever bit of writing in my opinion! *two thumbs up*
Final thoughts: I can't wait to get to book 2 now and to buy this for our high school library! What a great addition it'll make!
Read-alike's I highly recommend that I have read which deal with issues similar to Becca's "situation" - The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr, and Empty by K.M. Walton, but I feel I have to warn you that this last one is dark, and does not have an empowering ending to the main character like the other ones do. This last one is tragic. This last one is a cautionary tale intended to make you open your eyes and reach out to other human beings who need you when you see them. To keep you from laughing along with everyone else and sticking your head in the sand. To stand up and say no, to reach down and pick up the papers, to sit down with them at lunch...whatever it takes to make sure they aren't invisible anymore. To make sure they are seen.
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