November 12, 2012

Edgewood by Karen McQuestion

Whatever I'd seen last night was dangerous, and I wasn't looking for trouble. My room was my cocoon and I didn't want to be found. Let other people figure out what was going on. I wasn't brave enough to risk my life getting involved. 
I wasn't even a little bit brave. I wanted my old life back, the one where I studied for tests and diligently went to school, not doing anything that would make me stand out from the crowd.
-from Edgewood by Karen McQuestion

Karen McQuestion has been on my list of authors to read for a few months now, so when she asked if I would read and review her novel Edgewood I was really excited! I wasn't expecting to read a young adult action adventure sci-fi novel, but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the book!

Edgewood is the story of Russ Becker, a cookie-cutter typical 15-year old boy, who witnesses a strange astronomical event one night that can be likened to a supernatural meteor shower leaving a perfect spiral of glowing rocks behind. Russ doesn't just witness this event, he stands in the middle of the spiral and is affected by it, soon learning that it has given him supernatural powers. He befriends 3 other teens with the same experience who tell him about a group that is hunting them down. The first in the Edgewood series, this novel provides a basis for the story to come by introducing the cast of characters and climaxing as Russ is confronted head on by the mysterious group that is hunting him.

Edgewood is the type of book that made me fall in love with reading when I was younger. This book has all the elements that make for a great young adult book and proves that reading isn't "boring". First off, this novel is entertaining and action-packed; the story is continuously moving forward and new information is constantly being introduced. This suspense keeps the reader on their toes trying to piece together what is happening right along with Russ, who narrates his story.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is that the characters are likable and realistic. I especially favored Russ and found him to be a great protagonist for young readers. Russ is about as average as any teenage boy on the cusp of getting his driver's license; he has a good heart, works hard and has a balanced attitude about family, friends, school and life. I think teenage readers will identify him especially because Russ seems to validate teenagers in ways society tends to underestimate them. Russ isn't dumb; he knows when to pick his battles, what he can get away with and when he should choose not to follow the rules. But at the end of the day Russ has a good heart and is a smart kid, just like most teens I know.

Similarly, this book uses Russ to teach valuable lessons that are important for teen readers to learn. For example, it challenges readers to look at things through other people's perspective and not to jump to conclusions. Russ shows this through his relationship with his annoyingly clingy nephew and also through his interaction with Gordy Hoffstetter. Another lesson readers can learn through Russ is not to underestimate people, which he does with his older sister, Carly. I think the lessons teens learn vicariously through Russ will have a greater effect on them because he is such an identifiable teen protagonist.

My only small complaint about this book is that it does read like a teen novel. This can be seen as a huge strength since it's narrated by Russ in first person and McQuestion excels in making it sound like a teen is telling the story. But it also feels a bit pedantic at times to the adult reader. This didn't really affect my enjoyment once I got used to the character's voice; however, if you're an adult reader it might be worth noting.

Overall, I definitely recommend that you read this book and I can't wait for the next in the series!

Bottom Line: This is a great novel for you to read if you loved The Hunger Games, especially alongside your teen reader. I also recommend this book to anyone who is trying to convince their kids to enjoy reading because it's suspenseful and smart with a good message yet easy to follow. This would definitely make a great gift to any teen reader this holiday season! And get this: it's free to borrow from Amazon Prime right now if you're a member {only $6.99 for the Kindle Edition if you're not!}. 4/5 stars in general, 5/5 stars for teens.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Danielle, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed EDGEWOOD! Thanks so much for the thoughtful review.


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