October 24, 2011
Book Review: Sundial
C.F. Fruzzetti and M.I. Pearsall
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural
Whitney Forbes is your average 15 year old girl about to turn 16. She goes to high school, has awesome friends, and is being pursued by IT boy Reid Wallace. While she enjoys her adolescence to the fullest, there is one thing that lingers at the edge of her happiness giving it a bittersweet taste. When Whitney turns 21, the CIA will own her and force her to work for them as a remote viewer, a psychic who uncovers the secrets of hostile nations.
There are just so many wonderful things about Sundial I hardly know where to begin. First off, it is very well written making it a smooth enjoyable read. The authors obviously put a lot of thought into how Whitney and the other psychic's abilities would work and how the American government would be able to put them to use. The Clarion program fits seamlessly into what the average American perceives the CIA to be and doesn't feel made up or forced. On top of being totally awesome, the psychics of this book also have food allergies as part of their genetic makeup. In Sundial, people who have a food allergy are more evolved and develop psychic abilities. The science is actually pretty well developed and explained throughout the book. What a neat way to highlight a condition that has become more pronounced throughout the years!
I think my favorite part of the world the authors have placed their heroine in is the unique use of Kung Fu in Whitney and Reid's training. I haven't seen this in any of the YA books I have read recently and felt it was both appropriate and really neat to learn about. It was a treat to see such clashing cultures twine together to make such capable people.
The characters in Sundial are strongly constructed and very likable. Whitney is really like no other YA heroine you will read about. She knows exactly what she wants from life before the CIA gets their hands on her and she is determined to have no less. She is confident, capable, and far from the often self-destructive example we see in today's YA books. If you are a parent, and want a good read for your teen where the heroine isn't completely self-centered, whiny, and out-of-control, I would highly recommend Sundial. Don't get me wrong, I love YA fiction so much, and enjoy the racier books immensely,, but I am also an adult and understand how to separate fiction from fact. Let's be honest here, a good majority of YA fiction features teen girls ready to give up their lives, futures, and even families to be with some hot, sparkly, Emo vamp. While this is all fine well and good in a fictional world, it sends a bad message to impressionable teens who have yet to figure out what a real, healthy relationship entails. Sure, we all have to make sacrifices for the ones we love at one point or another, and it is pretty romantic to think someone loves you so much they would sacrifice everything for little old you. However, when you love someone, you don't expect them to give up everything they love and value just so they can be yours. This is where Sundial gets it right. Whitney and Reid's relationship revolves around their mutual attraction for each other of course, but also contains a respect and intelligence that teen relationships often lack. The authors offer a healthy and realistic example of what teens should expect out dating.
As for pacing, the book begins out slow and doesn't quite get to the action until the last third,, however once I got to the action, I understood exactly why. The authors are setting up Whitney's world and getting the reader familiar with the characters, how they think, and the way the interact with each other. This is the first book in a series, and like any other first, needs to take the time to set up the world and its characters.My only real complaint about this book was that things seem almost too easy and what I mean by this is that Whitney and Reid seem to always have the answers. Things almost always go without a hitch and that irked me a bit. I understand these people are psychics and can see what is going to happen and all, but everything can't go perfectly all the time. At some point, something has to go wrong. Obviously this wasn't a big enough problem to keep me from enjoying Sundial, but I do look forward to things not always falling perfectly together in book two.
I was approached by the authors to read and review Sundial. I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to be a reviewer for such a neat book. The authors had this to say about their debut novel, "We have tried to show girls in a positive and capable light and to give a boost to kids who feel socially isolated because of a food allergy through an exciting mainstream adventure." Well, with that being said, Fruzzetti and Pearsall succeed in this endeavor brilliantly. I recommend Sundial to all of you YA lovers and to teens looking for something that has both supernatural excitement and substance.
Don't miss the new book trailer here!
For more information please visit The Official Sundial Website