Author: Holly M. Campbell
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance/YA
Series: The Near Death Series (Book One)
Format: ebook via 48fourteen
Synopsis: Hope Murdoch was born dead. The doctor brought her back, and now she’s an almost-normal sixteen-year-old. Normal: a hopeless crush on the boy next door, a negative body image, and a (mis)diagnosis of ADHD. Not-so-normal: an exhausting and distracting ability to read minds. And high school is hard enough without hearing what everyone really thinks of you.
Lance Hampton used to be normal until a car accident killed him and his parents. Paramedics brought him back to a life he doesn’t want: orphaned, uprooted and living with his uncle, and suddenly able to see how people die. At his new school, he tries to keep to himself. Seeing how complete strangers die is torture enough, let alone friends.
At first glance, Hope doesn’t think much of Lance (though a lot of the other girls do). He looks like the typical bad boy. No thank-you … but then she meets his eyes and everything goes dark. She hears labored breathing. Rapid footsteps. And then a thud as someone falls to the ground. Inside Lance’s head, Hope just witnessed a vision of murder … her own.
Together Hope and Lance try to catch a killer before he’s red-handed. A killer who could be anywhere. Anyone. Sure Hope can read minds and Lance can see death, but they still can’t see in the dark.
It's hard to concentrate on homework when you can read minds and see death...
Hope can hear everyone's thoughts. At first, she couldn't decipher other's thoughts from her own, which led to confusion and Hope earning an unfortunate reputation for being the "weird girl". The one person who opened up to her was her neighbor, Bryce, but even he avoided her when his friends were near. So Hope did her best to stay out of everyone's way.
Things change for her when a new student shows up at school. But it isn't his bad boy image that makes Hope take notice. It's the vision she receives the first time she looks into his eyes. The image of her own death. One which happens to be murder...
Lance is still recovering from an accident that killed his parents and left him with an unwanted ability to visualize a person's death just by making eye contact with them. He can't control it and he can't stop the deaths from happening. But when he sees Hope's destined ending, he feels an urge to try to save her, despite the odds being entirely against them.
The new knowledge of her future leaves Hope terrified and desperate to stop it from happening. With Lance's help, the two begin to piece the puzzle together of her eminent demise. Their closeness could become more if Hope could just convince herself to abandon her pursuit for Bryce's affection.
This is a young adult novel, set in high school, so of course there is a fair amount of teenage drama and angst between all of the characters. I expected this and didn't find it any more bothersome than usual. Hope's crush on her neighbor ruled her mind most of the time but I was glad to see a bit of growth from her throughout the story. And once upon a time, I had a teenage infatuation with a boy, myself, so I can certainly relate.
As for the paranormal angle of the book, I found it to be fascinating. The mind-reading and death foretelling elements were interesting and the mystery of the murders kept me turning the pages even when the romantic portion stalled. I liked Hope and rooted for Lance. Bryce became a bit of a nuisance but I did pull for him by the end.
I'm ready for the next book and anxious to find out who the elusive murderer might be. Four suns!