Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh How Cemetery Sleeps

In the Arms of Stone Angels

Written by: Jordan Dane

Released: April 1, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: Two years ago I did a terrible thing. I accused my best friend of being a killer after seeing him kneeling over a girl's body. That moment and that outcast boy still haunt me.

Now my mom is forcing me back to Oklahoma and I can't get White Bird out of my mind. But when I find out he's not in juvie—that he's in a mental hospital, locked in his tormented brain at the worst moment of his life—I can't turn my back on him again.

No one wants me to see him. My mom doesn't trust me. The town sheriff still thinks I was involved in the murder. And the other kids who knew the dead girl are after me.

I'm as trapped as White Bird. And when I touch him, I get sucked into his living hell, a vision quest of horrifying demons and illusions of that night. Everything about him scares me now, but I have to do something. This time I can't be a coward. This time I have to be his friend.

Even if I get lost, as well…

It took me a while to get around to reading this and now after I have I have absolutely no idea why I took as long as I did. This book throws you right into the murder and intrigue from the first page and it keeps you wondering until the very end; I don’t think that I’ve been as surprised by a book’s ending as I was by this one in quite a while.

The characters in this novel are... damaged. Every single one of them has something incredibly wrong about them and in some cases it works for them. White Bird, for example, even though he wasn’t fully present for the entire book – he was more there in spirit and through flashbacks, which I don’t see as counting – was really able to have an impact on me while reading. He was so broken and yet so strong; it was really amazing. Brenna (the main character) was at times incredibly whiney and petulant but when push came to shove she was able to really pull herself together. Her ability to rely solely on herself was remarkable and she had such an inner strength. I don’t think that I would be able to go through all that she did and not be completely withdrawn from the world at large.

The secondary characters really made the story unfold. Each with their own problems, their lives weave together the entire mystery and they let you see just how harsh life can be. There’s the classic untouchable bully, the reigning princess bitch, the lowly minion, the overwrought mother, the rookie good guy, the predisposed sheriff, the manipulative doctor, and the wise man who helps make the path straight. Set in their separate nooks, they really don’t amount to much, but when brought together with the main characters they give an insight that would otherwise be lost.

The mystery in this novel really had me guessing right until the big reveal. Maybe someone more perceptive than me would have spotted it before, but there are so many misleading bits that I was completely turned around. I think that I suspected almost every person at one point throughout the book. And once the climax hit, I had to stop and catch my breath before continuing on.

I am so glad that I read this. It was so different than a lot of what I see out there in the book world, especially recently. In this book you won’t find anything more supernatural than Native American theology and beliefs – which in themselves are fascinating because they could happen just the way that it’s written. Ok, there are ghosts... but I don’t classify them in the same category as vampires and werewolves and they don’t really add much to the story. So basically it’s a dash of supernatural. Either way, it’s different.

If you’re looking for something new that’s going to captivate your attention and keep it until the very end, this is the book for you. If you like to read something more “normal” (read: non-vampireesque) with just a splash of flavour, this is for you. If you want an amazing mystery with several twists and turns, check this out because I seriously doubt that you will be disappointed. I give this an 8/10.

Oh, and as an added bonus, this is a 2011 YA debut from this author. One more incredible reason to read it! If you want to read an excerpt, click the link here to Jordan Dane’s YA page.

My thanks to everyone at netGalley and Harlequin who made it possible for me to read an advanced copy of this novel.

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