17-year-old Janelle is just leaving the beach after her shift as a life guard, when a jeep comes barrelling towards her, and she knows she’s dead. Then a miracle happens, she’s brought back to life, and the person who’s currently healing her severed spinal cord? Ben Michaels; a stoner from school.
Janelle is given a clean bill of health at the hospital, but she knows what nobody else will believe – she died, and Ben Michaels brought her back. Now Janelle wants to know why, and how Ben Michaels saved her.
Janelle also has something else to focus on though, her father works for the FBI and is working on a new case that revolves around the fact that people keep turning up dead from excessive radiation, and they’ve also found something that appears to be a bomb with a timer – that they can’t defuse.
Who is Ben Michaels? How did he manage to save Janelle and Why? Why are these people dying from Radiation burns? What is the timer counting down to? And how are Ben Michaels and this case linked?
I’m kind torn over this book, because there were parts that I really liked, and then parts that were just so boring it drove me crazy. Some of the plotlines seemed to have holes in them, the whole countdown thing was a bit bizarre (and it sounded much better in the blurb than in the book), and the pacing was just too slow.
Janelle was an okay character. I appreciated her determination to find the truth, and her dislike of people keeping secrets from her, but at the same time she was a bit too sure of herself, thinking that she could solve a case that the FBI couldn’t!
I liked Ben, and he said some really sweet things. Some of his flirting was just lovely, and I quickly grew to like him.
One of the major flaws of this book for me though was the pacing. The beginning was good, but after the first 200~250 pages I began to wonder what the hell was going on. The entire middle, and even part of the end were so slow they just dragged, and dragged, and dragged some more. This was really disappointing after such a promising start, and I got to the point where I just couldn’t force myself to keep reading, and actually had to put this down and read something else (which I don’t really like doing). I really think that this book would benefit from having some of this dead weight cast off, 445 pages was about 150 pages too long!
The plot – I have to say that when reading this, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between this story and the TV show ‘Roswell’; first Ben saves Janelle from dying – Max saves Liz in Roswell, there are three of these kids who are different – ditto for Roswell, and when Janelle looks in the mirror and finds proof that Ben did something to her, (which Liz also did) I was seriously expecting a silver handprint. That being said, I did love Roswell, but the similarities here were just so loud that when it’s revealed what exactly Ben is at around page 250, and Janelle makes some sort of comment about being shocked, I couldn’t help but wonder whether she had been paying attention to what was going on.
When we eventually get to the real story though, the plot holes are huge, and it took so long for things to be explained that I was getting seriously hacked off. How many pages are we expected to read with no explanations for things, until we just can’t be bothered anymore? Some of these plot points were answered to some extent by the end of the book, but it was just ridiculous that Janelle herself didn’t question some of these things. For a girl who goes around asking difficult questions, and sticking her nose in where it’s not wanted – including impersonating an FBI officer, she didn’t ask what I thought were very obvious questions. It was a bit like ‘We found a purple pig’ – ‘Great – I wonder what colour the bacon will be?’ – aren’t you going to ask where the purple pig came from, or why it’s there?
There were other similar incidents of this during the book too, and it got annoying.
The countdown. So much is made of this on the back cover, every chapter starts with the current time left, and the book is even compared to ‘24’. In the actual story though? It’s almost a side-line! Janelle isn’t even aware of the clock until about 18 days to go, and even then, it’s something her father is working on, not really anything to do with her, and most of the time it’s barely even thought about – other things are happening. Yet another misleading blurb!
The whole thing about ‘Janelle saving the world’ was a bit over-the-top too. In reality saving the world had very little to do with her.
That being said though, I did enjoy the first half of this book, but I just can’t forgive this books problems.
Overall; interesting idea, but too many issues.
6 out of 10.