Friday, December 21, 2012

Aura by Rebecca Talley




I half-turned to her and shrugged, still processing what I'd seen, or at least what I thought I'd seen, in Ms. Neal's eyes—like they weren't hers. Obviously, they were her eyes, but it looked like she'd plucked them from someone else's head. A dead someone else's head.
Everything in Crystal Scott's life finally seems perfect—until a demon thirsts for her Light.
Vincent Crandall, the human host for a powerful demon, discovers that Crystal possesses the power to disrupt the connection between demons and their hosts.
On prom night, Vincent sends in operatives from his demon army to neutralize Crystal, and she is suddenly thrust into battle.
With help from a mysterious young man, Crystal must learn to control the Light within her before Vincent kills her parents and harnesses her power for himself.
 
My Review:
 
I read YA fantasy to my boys, but rarely choose it for myself. I downloaded Aura because I know Rebecca and think she's amazing. I thought I'd give the book a few pages. It sucked me right in.  The book is intense and well-written. I loved that Crystal is innocent and makes a conscious choice to stay that way in the face of intense pressure. I would recommend Aura to young adults on up.
 
Excerpt:
 
       I looked up from my world history textbook, and when my gaze met Ms. Neal’s, fear slithered up my spine. Her eyes were dull and lifeless. For a moment, she held me captive. I tore my gaze from hers and cast it onto my book. The words jumbled together while I sucked in a jagged breath.
Erin, the closest thing I had to a best friend, nudged me from behind. “What page are we on?”
I half-turned to her and shrugged, still processing what I’d seen, or at least what I thought I’d seen, in Ms. Neal’s eyes—like they weren’t hers. Obviously, they were her eyes, but it looked like she’d plucked them from someone else’s head. A dead someone else’s head.
“The Aztecs believed that sacrifice kept the universe going. They believed that the gods sacrificed for them so they were required to pay the endless debt by sacrificing back to the gods,” Ms. Neal said in her raspy voice. Her arm jerked slightly.
I struggled to calm down, hoping to reel in my famously overactive imagination and convince myself I’d only imagined that look in her eyes. I forced my eyes to focus on the passage in my book.
“I think it’s so disgusting that the Aztecs did human sacrifice,” a girl said from across the room.
“Many ancient cultures, not just the Aztecs, practiced human sacrifice, including sacrificing children,” Ms. Neal said.
 A chorus of groans sounded through the room.
“For your project assignment, I want you to choose one of the civilizations we’ve studied and do a presentation on how sacrifice figured into their religious belief system. You can do an oral presentation, a Power Point, a paper, or something else creative.” She paused. “You may work on this with a partner or in a group.”
 The room turned to commotion as students started talking and moving around. Erin tugged on my shoulder. “Come back here and sit in this empty desk so we can work together.”
I gathered up my things and moved next to Erin. She chomped on her watermelon-scented gum and played with her large, silver hoop earring. “What should we do?” she asked, tapping her neon pink nails on her chin. 
From my peripheral vision, I could see Ms. Neal walking around the classroom. I tried to suppress my overactive imagination about her soulless, zombie eyes—eyes that sent icicles through my veins.
“Crystal?” Erin waved her hand in front of my face. “What’s with you? You look all freaked out or something.”
I didn’t dare tell her that I thought Ms. Neal had corpse eyes. Even saying the words in my head sounded ridiculous. Just my imagination. This is high school, not a horror movie. “I’m fine.”
Buy Aura on Amazon
Rebecca's Website 
 

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