Tuesday, August 3, 2010

YA Review: Other by Karen Kincy

An Other Novel, #1
Author: Karen Kincy
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Flux
Available from Amazon

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate–into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her.

I won a copy of Other from the author on Kaz Mahoney's blog. I loved the writing style of the author, Karen Kincy. It's written from the point of view of the main character Gwen, who is a little bit of a paranormal Nancy Drew trying to find her place in a society that hates what she is. She's been taught to hide her "otherness" from everyone but her family for her own safety and theirs. Can you imagine how difficult this would be for a teenager? To be able to have this awesome ability that makes you feel free and powerful, but yet you can't share it with your friends. Who can you trust?

I loved the thought provoking theme of tolerance and bigotry in Other. Many humans hate Others out of fear and ignorance, but when it comes down to it, many Others have this same bigotry towards their own kind. Those born as Others look down on others who were "made" such as vampires and werewolves. In the midst of so many misconceptions and so much hate Gwen has to piece together the murders in her town before she becomes the next victim.

Other is not a fairy tale romance where the knight rides in to rescue Gwen and make all her dreams come true. Life is never that simple and perfect, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. We make mistakes, especially when we were young and looking for someone to accept us for who we are. There are twists and turns in the plot that surprised me, and kept me guessing right up until the end. Gwen and her friends are flawed but not broken. They deal with things in the only way they've been taught. They learn lessons through the pain of loss, betrayal, friendship, loyalty and doing what is right, even when it hurts.

Mom's View: As with all my YA reviews I give my input as a mom with two teenagers. Others is for more mature teens because there are sexual elements to the story. It's not treated lightly though, and I thought the author did a great job keeping it real, which I always appreciate as a mom. I want to hug the author for giving the heroine normal parents that love her and want to listen to her. Sure, they don't always communicate what they mean, but they TRY. This book is a wonderful read for teens and their parents.

For more information on Others and the author visit her website here.