Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book Review: Untraceable by S. R. Johannes





 Book Description (From the Author's website)

16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

When Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. After finding a Cheetos bag and stolen government file, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy who has an intoxicating accent and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged, Wyn. 

After a few run-ins with the town's police chief, her father's partner, and some new evidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence. 

Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.


My Thoughts:

Let me just say if I'm ever lost in the woods or need to find someone, Grace Wells is the girl I'd want by my side. For one thing, she knows the woods like nobody's business and for another, she never gives up. Even when it seems that everyone's against her, she just keeps pushing on to what she thinks is right. She won't let anyone stand in her way - even her own mother. And when the chips are down, she'd have your back. What more could you ask for?

Even though the protagonist of this story is a girl, I think this is the type of story that will appeal to boys as well as girls. Partly due to the way it's written - it's very straightforward, no flowery prose here - and partly due to the premise of the story. At times, Grace is all tomboy, hiking in the woods, fly fishing, tracking down clues to her father's disappearance, but when she meets a cute, mysterious boy in the woods, she's reminded that she is, indeed, a girl. Not a sappy, I'll-wait-for-the-guy-to-rescue-me kind of girl, but the kind who can go a little weak in the knees when kissed by someone she's attracted to without losing her ability to kick ass and take names when the moment calls for it. And believe me, she does, Not that she's superwoman and doesn't have any faults, because she does - the number one being that she tends to push people away from her, especially when they get too close.

Which brings us to Mo and Wyn. Sigh. Mo is the cute guy from the woods who turns Grace's world upside down and reminds her that it can kind of be fun being a girl. He's good-looking, mysterious, and tends to keep secrets - number one being what he's doing out in the woods all the time. He's there when Grace needs him, which she can only say about one other person in her life at present - Wyn. Grace and Wyn have known each other their whole lives, they have a history, and she may or may not still have feelings for her. And oh, yeah, he just might share them. But the path to happiness is never clear and this one has a fork in the road, one marked Wyn, the other marked Mo. Not a bad place to be, actually. How can she choose between them when each one gives her what she needs when she needs it?

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book that snake through it in the same deceptively calm way as the river that plays a powerful role in the story. Just when you think you have it figured it out, you will be proven wrong. It kept me guessing all the way to the end and even then, I was taken by surprise. I won't spoil it here, but let's just say, it sets up nicely for a sequel. Although some major questions are answered, other aren't and they will keep you wondering what will happen next long after the book is done.

Final verdict: A unique story told with skill that will appeal to anyone who enjoys mystery, adventure and a kickass heroine.


(ebook provided by author for review)

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