Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Every Other Day Book Review

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  EgmontUSA. ISBN: 9781606841693.

Annotation: Kali isn’t like other girls: every twenty-four hours she changes into a hunter with strength and speed who can kill supernatural creatures that pose a threat to humans. Kali doesn’t have any friends at school, but when she notices that popular girl Bethany has been marked for death by one of the creatures she hunts, Kali must try to save her life while keeping what she truly is a secret.
Personal thoughts: I was intrigued when I heard about this book, and after reading it, found that my interest was warranted. Jennifer Lynn Barnes has done a good job of creating something interesting and unique that also challenges the reader to think below the surface of the plot. Of course the story contains more fantastical things like chupacabras, hellhounds, dragons and basilisks, but they play second-fiddle to Kali trying to cope with her distant father, abandonment by her mother and her general loneliness. Many teens are certain to pick up on these bigger issues, while the supernatural elements of the book will appeal to a wide audience. I hope that the author decides to write a sequel because I think there is something really interesting in this story that could easily be expanded upon further.  
Plot summary: In Kali D’Angelo’s world, Darwin discovered preternatural creatures on his journey to the Galapagos Islands, and things like hellhounds, zombies, and basilisks are a normal, if unpleasant, part of everyday life. Kali’s mother left her and her father when she was three-years-old and since she was twelve, Kali has kept a secret from the rest of the world: every twenty-four hours, Kali transforms. One day, she is a normal teenage girl. The next, she is a hunter with superhuman speed and strength and a desire to track and kill the preternatural creatures that feed on humans. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but her dark side has left her angry, bitter and without any friends. Everything changes, however, when Kali accidentally spots a strange marking on popular girl Bethany at their high school. It appears that Bethany has been bitten by a chupacabra, a preternatural creature that infects and drains the life of its host. Although they’re not friends, Kali knows that she must save Bethany and find a way to kill the chupacabra. One major problem exists with Kali’s plan, however: she spots the mark when she is a normal human girl. How can Kali fight a deadly preternatural creature without her mysterious powers?
Review: From Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of the Raised by Wolves series, comes the briskly paced and dark story of Kali D’Angelo, a girl who spends half her life as a vicious demon-hunter and the rest as a loner who wonders why she and her father were abandoned by her mother years earlier. Many heroines in young adult novels spend a lot of their time pondering their identities. In Kali’s case, however, trying to find out who she is has a more literal meaning: Kali, and the reader, don’t know why she morphs every other day into a demon-hunter, and much of the story is spent in uncovering exactly what is behind her transformations. The novel is also full of other mysteries that need solving, including the chupacabra that Kali must rid from her new “friend” Bethany, the truth about Kali’s mother, and the psychic connection that Kali discovers with someone Zev. Although the plot is, at times, a bit confusing, many readers are sure to enjoy this story. It is not overly romantic, but instead focuses on Kali, who is a likable if not warm and cuddly heroine. The side characters are also interesting, as is the relationship between Kali and Zev. Jennifer Lynn Barnes has stated that she intended Every Other Day to be a stand-alone novel, but is open to the possibility of writing a sequel at some point in the future. Whether the story becomes part of a series or not, it is still something that can be easily recommended to teens who enjoy supernatural novels with a lot of action and mystery.
Genre:  Science-Fiction
Reading level: Grade 7+
Similar titles: Damage by Anya Parrish, Misfit by Jon Skovron, Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs.   
Themes:  Demon hunters, supernatural creatures, chupacabras, vampires, conspiracy, father/daughter relationships, abandonment.  
Awards/Reviews:  Positive reviews from Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.   
Series Information: First installment in Starters and Enders series. Second novel, Enders, set to be released December 11, 2012.  
Discussion questions:
-      Would you like to be able to transform like Kali does? Why or why not?

-      Kali is often described as having a “hero complex” in the novel. What does that mean? Do you think it’s a good way to describe her?

-     Why do you think Kali and her father have such a strained relationship?

-    Do you think that Skylar truly cared what people at school said about her?

-    Do you think Zev truly betrayed Kali? Why or why not?

-     If a sequel is written for this novel, what would you like to see happen in it?

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