Author: Lindsay Ribar
Info: Kathy Dawson Books, copyright 2016, 336 pages
Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing.
Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe.
With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.
This book had me by a fun cover and the ever intriguing "Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow" comparison. This book, however, lost me somewhere in the murky middle when I realized I wasn't going to get either of those things.
Aspen Quick is a thief. He's a magical thief, but he's still a thief. By touching something owned by an individual, he can steal a part of them - their fear, their sobriety, their feelings for their boyfriend. He can steal these things and make them his. This magical gift is a family trait and is used in a ritual that he believes is keeping the cliff above his hometown intact. They steal to repair fissures in the mountain side that could potentially destroy the town. But Aspen discovers his power isn't at all what it is cracked up to be and that secrets, secrets are no fun, secrets, secrets hurt someone.
To be completely honest, I don't have a lot to say about this one. It didn't infuriate me like books have this year, but it also didn't leave me with any kind of feelings at all. Aspen isn't really a likable character. You feel, just a tiny bit, for him as he unravels all of the secrets he's wrapped up in, but he's selfish. So selfish. I think you're supposed to pity him, but I didn't. I wanted to see him get his comeuppance, because his nonchalance about stealing from being made me twitchy. He is a teenager though, and my experience with teenagers is that generally they believe the world revolves around them, so his behavior isn't a stretch. That's where a teenagers brain is, and at that stage of development, that's where it's supposed to be...but STILL. Ugh. Consequences.
And not a whole lot happens in the book. There are a lot of repeat conversations, teenage angst and anger, and finally, at the end, a revelation. For a brief moment I thought it might feel more like a mystery as Aspen befriends a local teen who seems to be more aware of his family's abilities, but it never really got there.
Is it poorly written? No. The writing was fine. Is it a bad concept? Not really. There is potential. Was it oversold with the Twin Peaks / Stars Hollow references? Yes. Yes it was. I think I was just a little disappointed cause that's what I wanted.