Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia

Sixteen-year-old Stephanie Stewart has been helping lost spirits cross over for years, despite her mother's efforts to mold her into the perfect, proper daughter. Unfortunately, Stephanie's secret ability keeps her in no small amount of trouble, and after her latest escapade (involving an exploding mirror and a dramatic exit from a sleepover) things seem to be taking a turn for the worse. Spirits Stephanie rescued long ago are returning, her mother is forcing her to visit yet another psychiatrist, her best friend is in danger of discovering her late-night rendezvous with the dead, and the mysterious new school heartthrob seems to be taking a bizarrely strong interest in her. As Stephanie is pulled deeper into the dreary and dangerous world of the dead, she realizes that she may not know as much as she thought about the hand fate has dealt her - nor is she the only one in town harboring a terrible secret.

Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia is an interesting blend of typical teenage issues and chilling supernatural secrets. The teenage aspect is treated rather stereotypically, with witchy it-girls and melodramatic protagonists. The stereotypes make it hard to become invested in the characters, whether good or bad, and the melodrama makes the heroine's mental voice a bit amorphous. Still, Stephanie handles her encounters with the dead with surprising and refreshing grace: it's clear the teen has been fulfilling her unearthly duties for years and has come to terms with her calling. Her poise in the face of the impossible shows her admirable strength and confidence, in contrast to her overly dramatic responses to typical teen traumas.

The story plunges headfirst into the action surrounding Stephanie's bizarre powers, and many surprising secrets revealed toward the end leave the reader eager to know more about the source of her abilities. One of the most interesting aspects of Stephanie's ghostly talents are her dreamlike visions, which are vivid, delectably chilling and dramatic - often serving as the prelude to some of the darker and more dangerous scenes. A foreboding chill hangs over the novel, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat with suspicion and building hair-raising suspense. The action, mystery and intrigue finally pick up the pace in the latter pages and, though it takes a while to get there, the conclusion is packed with startling revelations and gut-wrenching danger. Crossed Out is left open for a sequel, which will hopefully delve more deeply into the closet full of skeletons and family secrets hinted at in the final pages.


Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the author. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to purchase Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia

Don't miss yesterday's guest post by author Kim Baccellia on the spooky spots of Sacramento!


Jeannine Garsee said...

Great review, and right up my alley!

Jean said...

Thanks for commenting on my WoW post! I really appreciate it :)

Fantastic review - I thought it does sound a bit like the Mediator series by Meg Cabot on reading the synopsis, but I think I shall try and read it to find out myself. I really liked the Mediator series so I'll probably like it! Thanks for the great review :D

Amber Stults said...

What an interesting premise. I've recently begun reading a series about banshees who guide souls to where they need to go. Sounds like Stephanie has a big responsibility.

The Bookish Type said...

Hi Jeannine! Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!

Hi Jean! I'm a huge fan of the Mediator series too! I love the flair Cabot gives to her stories and characters. The premise does sound a lot like the Mediator, but I this book is actually quite different from that series. It takes the same premise in a very different direction. I'll be interested to hear what you think!

Hi Amber! Are you reading the Rachel Vincent series? I thought those sounded interesting - you don't hear a lot about banshees these days.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your review.

Ooh, what's the name of that one series?

E.J. Stevens said...

Great review! I can't wait to check this one out.


From the Shadows

The Bookish Type said...

Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by! It's been a pleasure hosting you on your tour! The series I was referring to is the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent - book one is called My Soul to Take.

Hi E.J.! Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the review and I hope you enjoy the novel!

Anonymous said...

Great Review, Kim!!

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