Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: The Adventures of Jillian Spectre (Jillian Spectre #1) by Nic Tatano

Release Date: March 14. 2014
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website

Welcome to the Mystic Quarter...
Jillian Spectre knows what happens after you die.
Because the seventeen-year-old mystic seer can see the future of her clients even after they've passed on. And that's not even her coolest power...
She can be in two places at once. Problem is, her heart can only be in one.
Supernatural abilities aside, she's a typical high school senior torn between two guys. But that gets put on the back burner when she discovers the father she had long assumed was dead is actually alive, with unique powers of his own. He's a technopath, with the ability to interface his mind with technology. And he's got a plan to take down society.
Unless Jillian can stop him.
THE ADVENTURES OF JILLIAN SPECTRE is the story of a very special girl who learns that the power of love is more important than supernatural powers.

Cute, bouncy, and waaaay more fun than I originally thought it would be!

First off, let's just get the iffy parts of the story out of the way.
The villain and his dangerous plot to take over the world?
It was ok. And I'll admit that it wouldn't be a big stretch of the imagination to think that someone could use supah-cool cell phones as a medium to suck in teens and adults.
But. I just wasn't feeling it for some reason.
Saving the world seemed sort of secondary to some of the other stuff that was going on, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book. So, don't go in this thinking you're getting a paranormal thriller, and you should be ok.

Alrighty, here's what I liked:

There was a good Parent/Child relationship. Sure, Dad was MIA, but Jillian's mom was an actual presence in her life. None of that weird absentee parenting shit that crops up over and over again in this genre. In YA literature, I expect that the main characters will eventually find a way to get around their guardians. Otherwise, you wouldn't have a story, 'cause they'd be safely tucked away in their rooms. Still, I do expect to find the occasional parental figure who isn't stupidly taking a business trip or vacation, and leaving their teen home alone. Or blindly believing their kid when they say...well, whatever they say. How dumb do you have to be!? As a parent, you have to assume that if your kid's mouth is moving, you have a 50% chance that a lie is pouring out of their cherubic lips. It doesn't mean they are bad, or that you have done a bad job raising them. All it means, is that they are following an inborn instinct we all have.
I mean, my husband still lies to his parents. They live several hours away in another state, so they like it when he calls them to let them know we got back to our house safely after a visit.
Nice, no?
But my husband waits till we've been home for an hour before he picks up the phone.
So they won't know he was speeding.
I'm not Super-Mom. I love those little guys, but occasionally I have to sleep. And that's when they STRIKE. Like Demon-Ninjas.
But believe it or not, I know where the hell my kids are at any given time, on any given day.
Where are you going?
Who are you with?
Check in with me every *insert time limit here*, or I will find you.
And you don't want me to have to find you...
And then I discretely follow up to make sure they aren't lying....
Do my kids get away with mischief and mayhem every time I take my eyeballs off of them?
I would be disappointed if they didn't at least try.
But I guarantee you that I would not be blissfully unaware while they disappeared for days at a time into an alternate universe. Get real!
Who are these adults in books that fall for that, "I'm spending the weekend at Suzy's house!", crap? As The Mom, the whole fascination with idiot grown-ups pisses me off.
So. I appreciated the relationship Jillian had with her mother. Not the perfect mother, but she was there.

Another thing I appreciated was the lack of body dysmorphia as a plot device. As in, Jillian was satisfied with the way she looked. She didn't have goddess-like looks, but she was attractive. And she knew it. She also had self-confidence, and demanded to be treated with respect by potential dates.
Here's the kicker:
She was (and had been) pining over her male BFF, but instead of trying to make herself available to only him, she was aware that he might not return her feelings.
So she dated other guys that she liked.
Don't you mean she dated other guys in order to get his attention?
She dated guys that she thought were hot...and might have a chance of liking.
It's true. Evidently, you don't have to waste away while you are waiting on Mr. Right to decide to notice you.
Who would have thought such a groundbreaking idea was possible?!

There were also other fairly well-rounded characters in the book that added a good bit of diversity to the What's-Hot-What's-Not discussion. Jillian't best friend is described as an Amazon due to her towering height. Again, she's also considered beautiful. She doesn't hunch her shoulders or wear flats just because she's taller than most of the guys. She believes she's attractive, and that self-confidence makes it true. Sorta like real life.
Speaking of height, the author didn't just make this about the girls. One of the hot guys that Jillian goes on a date with is really short. It plays into the story, but not in the normal Ha-Ha-You're-On-A Date-The-Keebler-Elf kind of way. Yes, he's shorter than Jillian, and it's brought up that he has a better than average view of her boobs, but he isn't a social pariah just because he's not 6 feet tall.

The tone of the story isn't dark and serious, and the dialogue is snappy and cute. It's not perfect by an stretch of the imagination, but I really enjoyed it. If you're looking for something that won't make your eyes roll out of your head, due to the idiotic ideas that usually permeate this genre, then you may want to give this one a shot.


Shane Morgan said...

I like the premise. It seems really interesting and I would like to pick it up. Good review.


Thanks, Shane! I hope you enjoy it!

Romy Sommer said...

Loved this review! And it sounds like I might enjoy the book too. Thanks!

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