Having spent her entire life on the run from unknown attackers, the result of what she assumes must be a connection to the mafia, she has only ever had her family to rely on. With their latest move however, something feels different. She immediately befriends her assigned buddy, Taylor, and suddenly finds herself torn between two possible love interests.
Chase is exactly how I would picture a Floridian jock:
"The boy looked pretty hot with his blond hair, tanned skin, and deep blue eyes. Not to mention his athletic bod."
And boy are we reminded of it! His "hotness" is referred to quite often, usually while Jewel is unable to function properly because she's caught herself staring at his abs, before she reminds us of what a nice guy he is. Interest number two, Roman, is the polar opposite (obviously), with dark hair (that's constantly falling in his smouldering eyes) and a bad-boy vibe. I was unable to feel the chemistry between Jewel and either Chase or Roman, because there was next-to-no development of either love story. Other then her comments on their respective hotness, Jewel doesn't spend much time getting to know either guy before deciding that she might have feelings for both.
Her feelings for the boys are further confused by the revelations she keeps stumbling on regarding her past and her seemingly troubled future. As Roman begins to begrudgingly fill her in on their shared history, including the real reason for her family's constant relocations, she takes it upon herself to find out as much as possible. When her search for the truth uncovers more then she bargains for, she's faced with a choice that will change the course of her life forever.
I can't say much more without giving away Spectral's secrets, so I apologize if the following is vague. I loved Jewel's relationship with her younger brother, Jayden, and I truly believed in the big-sister protectiveness that she fostered for him. I did find Jewel's reactions to many situations a little unbelievable - her reactions were always too extreme, with her either fainting or throwing up from the shock (I lost count how many times she threw up), but I did like that she had reactions; it's getting more and more rare in YA for the heroine to be upset over finding out about the paranormal. I kept waiting for her to show some sort of teenage rebellion, and stand up for herself against her aunt's ridiculous requests, and was disappointed when she instead found ways around her strict rules. Then again, sometimes it's just easier to be sneaky when you're a teenager, so I can't really blame her. She jumped to conclusions on several occasions, which left me confused as to her train of thought. Particularly when she decided that Roman had lied to her about wanting to protect her - her jump from A to B made absolutely no sense to me, and I found myself flipping back, looking for the explanation I must have missed.
"Roman had made it pretty clear that he'd led me on and didn't really want me. I bit my lip. I had to get over him. I'd only known him a couple of weeks, it couldn't be that tough."
How he made it clear is still lost on me, but I must admit that I laughed over her admittance that she had only known him a brief time and that it would be easy to get over him - it only further added to the distance that I felt for their "relationship". (She also bites her lip a lot...and points out Roman's dimple a lot. It got a little aggravating!)
I did enjoy the ending, and how it tied up all the loose ends. It was action-packed, and made up for the slightly slow beginning. While I was unsurprised by the twists, because Jewel reacted well to many of them, I was able to enjoy her shock. There's definitely other things that, while reading, made me shake my head in confusion, but I've mostly forgotten them already. So even though I didn't find it overly memorable, I did mostly enjoy Spectral while I was reading it!