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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Auracle by Gina Rosati

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.

Released: August 7, 2012          Pages: 304
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (MacMillan)        
 Source: ARC won through Goodreads First Reads Giveaway
First Look: ***** This is my first ever ARC! I’m really excited about this, guys. (Actually, the copy of Legend that I read was an ARC, but I didn’t get it before the book came out, so that doesn’t count.) That’s why I’m doing my reviews a bit out of order—I usually review in the same order that I read, but in this case I’m getting this review out first because I want to make sure it’s up in plenty of time before the book comes out.

Aside from the ARC-ness, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this or not. It isn’t something I’d pick up on my own without being sent a free copy. Still, I gave it a try.
Setting: ***** The setting didn’t play a big part in the story. I neither liked nor disliked it—it was just there. I got a decent sense of what it looked like, without too much detail. It was a believable place, which I appreciated. I actually think that the setting could have been used more, with all the astral projection going on.

Characters: ***** I liked Anna. I liked how she refused to give up, and took action to fix her out-of-body problem (though if she was even more proactive, I would’ve liked her more). Her reactions were realistic. I liked Seth, too. His conflicts were interesting. I even managed to feel some sympathy for Taylor.

I had a problem with Rei, though. He had what I like to call the Edward Cullen Complex. All this means is that he was too perfect to be real. He was extremely attractive, nice to everyone, was great in school, played the guitar, excelled in martial arts, etc. etc. He could do no wrong. Now, people are human. They make mistakes. They mess up. And yet, so many love interests in books suffer from ECC. Even Rei. Why is this? It’s not realistic at all, and it’s not very good character development.

***** I enjoyed the plot. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. For whatever reason, I was expecting an angsty romance with a bit of astral projection issues on the side. That’s not what I got, though, which is great. There was a bit much romance for my tastes, but for the most part it didn’t distract from the rest of the plot. I cared about the plot, and I wanted the characters to succeed, which goes a long way towards how much I enjoyed the book. The beginning was a bit slow and cliché, but it picked up after that.

Uniqueness: *****The falling-in-love-with-best-friend thing is overused. It’s annoying, how the characters never see it coming. Other than that, the book was unique enough.

Writing: ***** So. Many. Exclamation points. I do not like exclamation points in narration. Most pieces of writing advice will tell you to use exclamation points sparingly, if at all (in narration—dialogue is a different story). One quote even says that using an exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke. Annie says never use them at all. That’s just me, but still. There were a lot of exclamation points in this book. And the author even used the dreaded multiple exclamation point. !!!! I can’t stand these. You should never use them in narration (and this isn’t just me—this is pretty universal when it comes to writing advice). They look amateurish. Unless your name is Patrick Ness, don’t do it.

Other than that, the writing was okay. I didn’t have much of an opinion one way or the other. It wasn’t spectacular, but most of the time it didn’t distract me from the story, either.
Likes: Nothing specific that hasn't already been mentioned.

Not-so-great: Even after reading the entire book, I don’t know why it’s called Auracle. Sure, it was a nickname that Rei used for Anna once or twice, but I don’t understand what it has to do with the book.
At the beginning, Rei and Anna were “just friends”. But…they acted more like boyfriend and girlfriend. They held hands, and Rei had his little neck-touching thing. These are not things that “friends” do.
Finally, there were a few sketchy comments about religion, which I have a problem with.

Overall: I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. Yeah, the romance was a bit too much, and the author overused exclamation points, and Rei was too perfect. Other than that, though, I liked it. I was drawn into the plot, and grew to like Anna and some other main characters. If it looks interesting, I recommend you go get a copy and give it a try when it comes out August 7. It’s more of a 3.5 star book, but I round that up to four stars.

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