MARKED, the sequel to TRACKED, by Jenny Martin is a strong combination of action, mental health, and family. The story picks up right where TRACKED left off, with Phee taking refuge with the rebellion and trying to process the events that got her there. The focus on Phee’s mental health is absolutely stunning. Phee has PTSD from the actions she witnessed, and that doesn’t simply go away overnight or change with a good day. Since she is still at the heart of the war, she is surrounded by triggers, and she does her best to deal with them the best way she can, though it is clear she will need help and treatment from others. Martin perfects keeping the action ongoing while not sacrificing the protagonist’s characterization.
Though family plays an important role in the first book, it takes a slightly stronger lead in the sequel. Phee has her adopted family with her, but she is still reeling from the loss of her uncle and the discovery of her mother. Family is a crucial motivator for several key characters, and in times of war, people will take drastic measures to ensure their families are safe.
While I love the introduction to a few new characters, one major character from the first book is absent for almost the entire sequel. Though the absence is understandable and definitely necessary at points, it makes the character feel almost like a stranger by the end, hindering some of the desired emotional effect. However, the focus on Phee and her journey is the most important part of the story, and the book beautifully captures that.
Readers who want their hearts racing as fast as the cars in this series should grab this emotional, action-packed duology. MARKED concludes Phee’s story with loss, needed answers, and hope.