Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review - Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Every Other Day 
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Egmont USA
I checked this book out at the library.

Premise:  Ganked from Goodreads:

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

Wait, wait, wait... you realize this premise takes place in the first few pages of this book?!  Lol. They didn't want to spoil anything!!!  Well.... I'll try not to spoil anything, too...

My Review:

Argh!!  Rip my heart out!

Before I say anything… I have to note similarities I saw between the three books I’ve read by Barnes because, for me, this is huge. Like, read-everything-by-Barnes huge.  She doesn’t hold back on emotional pain or soften bloody blows. She’s willing to go deep, past assumptive boundaries. Her characters don’t suffer from stubbed toes, if you catch my drift. Rather, there is real abandonment issues, psychological twists to reality, gory moments that are burnt on memories… both the character’s and the reader’s. This depth adds a dose of reality to her writing that feels eerie. Which in turn adds the sense of real danger. I’m hugely relieved over who survives – if some of the characters I’ve fallen in love with do, actually, survive.  This is true of Every Other Day, Raised by Wolves & Trial by Fire. And why haven't I read Taken by Storm, yet?  Allow me to fix that problem ASAP!

As for my opinion of this book…

Wow!  I couldn’t put it down. When my family demanded to eat, or I had to sleep (the horror!) I couldn’t stop thinking about this book. At one point I hid on the patio while pretending to do yard work to keep reading. Lol. When I couldn’t avoid it a second longer, I attacked the weeds as if I was Kali attacking the zombies, I was in the middle of the scene where she gets mobbed. It felt really good. Those weeds didn’t stand a chance!

What I loved:

This entire story takes place in 48 hours, counted down in Kali’s mind, which is insanely urgent. How appropriate the cover is!!!  A bloody hourglass. Absolutely perfect.

I didn’t know what Kali was – if you haven’t read this, do not spoil it!!!  It’s a thrill to discover what she is and how she became that with her. Even if you suspect, like I did – like any one of us would! – you want to discover it at Kali’s pace, to embrace Barnes’ unique story.

I love the psychological aspect of all the relationships. Kali’s dad is not just a side-character to bump elbow with occasionally, their relationship effects Kali’s view of herself, her denial, her self-loathing. The more we learn of her dad, the more we understand about Kali and the more she is able to accept herself. How delicious is that?! 

Kali and Bethany have the oddest relationship. The “no one” vs. “Miss Popular”. Only Beth wears her I’m-cool attitude like a cloaking device to hide her own pain, a skill she learned from her mom surviving with her dad, who is also making bad choices for survival purposes. My favorite scene between these two unlikely friends is right at the end when Beth gives Kali a nudge towards coping with pain and forgiveness. Seriously… my heart still aches!!

Skylar is another friend with so many levels. I can’t even holler how much I love her enough. She has four older brothers whom she ranks in order of preference. She brings Kali home with her and there’s this moment when Kali sees the handprints of the kids in the cement driveaway as a barrier more real than any brick wall. It sorta said something like, “beyond this line lives a happy family, kids who grew up with their mom and dad loving them.” *Woosh* It just knocked the breath out of Kali and it still leaves me gasping.
There’s more. Each of Skylar’s brothers have personality and flaws. Each of their relationships with Skylar effects Kali.

Then there’s Kali’s mom, whose most powerful presence is in Kali’s memory from when she was three. The way she is introduced gave me this split response to her, half fear-hate and half lingering-ache.

Oh, and we must mention Zev. I think he created one of the most exciting aspects in this story because he unraveled who and what she is, providing conscience and non-human opinion while still maintaining his own bucket-load of problems. Lol. At one point Kali is carrying on a conversation with him inside her head and trying to hide her thoughts from him WHILE concealing Zev from her new friends, who she is not sure she can trust. Lol. Just add a hint of romantic draw and a whole lot of mystery and I was completely hooked!!

The world is unique, the monsters are believable, the pacing is fantastic, the action is realistic (in a What-the? Sort of way) this story is so fun, I can see me wanting to reread it. Soon. If I had a complaint – and this is scrambling for something to balance my ravings – I would note that Kali (rather like Bryn in the Wolves series) gets her thoughts rolling in a repetitive circle that makes me want to skip a line here –n- there since I am eager to see what’s happening next, outside of her inner turmoil.

And Kali?  OMG I love her. She is decisive and fearless, a rescuer of the oppressed, a victim twice over, completely alone and ready to love. She frightens me a little when I think of having her over for tea, but I would stand by her fiercely all day long. Or behind her, anyway. Go, Kali!!

My Rating: 5 - Love it!!  I realize I am putting this book up on a pedestal, but pacing is a big deal for me and the countdown plus all the unpredictable twists make this book really great read. I need to own this book and reread it, I enjoyed it that much.

Click on the covers to see my other reviews of Jen's books:

Actually.... this is kind of embarrassing. I wrote these reviews when I first started blogging, which explains why I didn't add any labels to be able to find them by searching. As I read I see that, um, I've improved a smidge in writing reviews. Which makes me self-conscious, suddenly, about how much better I'll be by next summer. UGH!!  Well........ ya gotta start somewhere, right?

Lemme sum up so you don't have to read these old posts! *ahem*  Raised by Wolves is fast-paced and soooo cool with the psychological authority tier of the wolf pack. There's some seriously traumatic stuff that made me want to literally puke, though. And lots of repetitive attitude. *snort*  Trial by Fire I enjoyed even more. More action, more dynamics and although the bad guy was so seriously BAD, maybe even worse, there isn't so much blood involved.  (I've already confessed to getting queasy at the dentist. You think I'm proud of that?!?!)

Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves, #1)  Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves, #2)  

About the Awesome Author:

Jennifer Lynn Barnes (who mostly goes by Jen) was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been, in turn, a competitive cheerleader, a volleyball player, a dancer, a debutante, a primate cognition researcher, a teen model, a comic book geek, and a lemur aficionado. She's been writing for as long as she can remember, finished her first full book (which she now refers to as a "practice book" and which none of you will ever see) when she was still in high school, and then wrote Golden the summer after her freshman year in college, when she was nineteen. 

Jen graduated high school in 2002, and from Yale University with a degree in cognitive science (the study of the brain and thought) in May of 2006. She'll be spending the 2006-2007 school year abroad, doing autism research at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

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