Paranormal gets a Stephen King makeover: An oracle in a small-town Florida uses her troubling gift to stop a murderer—before he comes for her. Aria Morse is an Oracle, blessed—or cursed—with the gift of prophecy. Ask her anything, and the truth spills out immediately. But Aria’s answers sound like nonsense, even to herself… just as they did at Delphi 2500 years ago. To cope, Aria has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight—until Jade Price, the closest person she has to a friend, disappears. All of a sudden, everyone around her has questions. The “nonsense” Aria spouts becomes a matter of life and death. She may be the only one who can find out what happened to Jade. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to being the next target of someone else who hides in plain sight. Someone with a very dark plan.
What worked: Loved Pauley's modern day take on an oracle. Only in this case, high schooler Aria Morse can not only tell the future but doesn't know when her ability will strike. And I mean it comes right out of the blue. Some in her town are 'used' to this but most others in her school ridicule her. Aria learns to avoid people at all cost. I felt how awkward and embarrassing this must have been for her. Her messages are cryptic and she doesn't even know what they mean. Readers can feel her isolation and her longing to be 'normal'.
Loved the mystery woven throughout. Aria is a multi-dimensional character and flawed with her own weaknesses as she struggles to accept her gift.
The Florida setting is also shown in vivid and lush details. Pauley paints the small town using all the senses so readers feel that they are right there. Add to that the suspense and tension which makes this a must read for anyone who loves thrillers.
Well written thriller with a likable heroine who struggles to accept not only her gift but herself. Aria's journey will resonate with readers.
The setting is perfectly rendered. Every page is saturated with sensory detail, bringing the heat and humidity of a small Florida town to vivid life. The plot is well balanced between the increasingly terrifying suspense and the poignancy of Aria's inner struggle to stop fighting who she is and to let others love her. And the piece that makes all of this work so well together is Aria herself. She's a character of fascinating complexity and simple truths. Like all great characters, she's wounded and flawed, she doubts others and herself, and her journey from distrustful loner to someone committed to her cause no matter the personal cost, is the most compelling part of the book.
ASK ME is an atmospheric, haunting gem of a story, and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it.