Thursday, July 26, 2012

Auracle by Gina Rosati

How could I not want to read a book with a cover this beautiful? But surprisingly, it wasn't the cover itself that drew me to Rosati's debut novel, Auracle, it was the incredibly unique and intriguing summary that matched it.

At the centre of Auracle is sixteen-year-old Anna a girl with a secret ability that she's only ever shared with her best friend, Rei: she can astrally project, meaning she can leave her body behind as her spirit explores the world, and even the universe. With a crummy home life, astrally projecting offers Anna the kind of escape that would otherwise be impossible. But when a fatal accident claims the life of girl in her class, and that same girl takes over Anna's body instead, what was a temporary escape may become a permanent condition. With only Rei to help her, Anna has to race to get her body back because their innocent friend has been accused of murder, and the person accusing them is using Anna's body to do it.

Auracle is a really easy to read book that's more about the paranormal and its romance subplot than the mystery I initially expected. But once I realized that, I was able to appreciate the actual story instead of the one I had thought there would be.

Anna was an interesting and authentic character and I really enjoyed reading the story from her perspective. Also, because she isn't limited to where her body can go, the reader gets to listen in on a bunch of conversations and situations that would usually remain behind the curtain in a first person narrative. So that was cool. Anna also wasn't perfect– she could be jealous and selfish and mean, but she was also real and kind and hurting. In contrast, Rei was a bit too flawless. I actually can't think of anything negative about him, except maybe that he liked to hang out with a friend besides Anna sometimes, which is really only a negative from Anna's perspective. Still, I definitely thought the friendship between Anna and Rei was genuine, and I loved their interactions and all the history they had. There were some really perfect moments between them, like sharing the headphones on an iPod, or (especially) looking after Rei's little sister together. 

The character I had the most issues with in Auracle was the villain, the classmate that takes over Anna's body. She just felt all mean and evil, in the same way Rei was all good and handsome, and I wanted her to have more complexity than that. There is one attempt at it, when it turns out her parents have pushed her into a life she didn't really want, but it's barely anything and seemed like an afterthought.

The story of Auracle takes awhile to develop, which means that at first the book is a bit slow. But as time passes, it turned out to be something I really enjoyed even if I could have done with a surprise or two. The other issue I had was with some developments near the end, when it seemed like a lot of powers were suddenly (and conveniently) being added in. Still, the way the book wrapped up is one of those nice endings where everything feels concluded but there's definitely still room for a sequel, and I'll be curious to see if Rosati writes one since I can't find any news about it yet. Auracle definitely caught my attention with its characters and incredibly original storyline, and if there is a sequel to Rosati's debut novel I would certainly pick it up.

Release Date: August 7th 2012  Pages: 304  Format: E-galley
Source: Raincoast Books  Publisher: Roaring Brook Press  Buy It: Book Depository

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