Original Books

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bad Connection by Melody Carlson

Samantha McGregor has an uncanny ability to see the future. But not just any future-only the futures God allows her to see in visions. The only person she ever told about this ability was her father-but he was killed in the line of duty. The visions stopped after that, but now they are back. God is telling her of an acquaintance of hers who has been disappeared. Kayla is not a friend of hers, since she was a incessant partier-but there is something wrong. Samantha teams up with one of her father's coworkers to see whether her visions are real or not. Together, they must get to the bottom of Kayla's disappearance before it's too late.

When compared to this book's counterparts in the young adult market, this book is a very good. But when compared to other books, this book is just all right. Melody Carlson steps away from young adult fiction cliches like bad characters in order to make this book interesting. Sam's gift of visions is intriguing enough, but when these two aspects are stripped away, the plot is very stock and typical.

Samantha and her mother are the best characters because they actually have personalities. The other characters are imperfect. There isn't a single perfect mentor character in the entire book. This is a huge plus coming from young adult fiction. There is one character that has the potential to be perfect later in the series, however.

Overly emphasized romances are a non-issue. They are very background and unimportant, another huge plus for any book. Again, there is the potential for one down the road. This is the problem with series': they tend to diminish in quality down the stretch.

The kidnapping plot is realistic enough. There is one death involved, but it comes from an expendable character. The biggest asset to the case is the lack of a showdown with the villain. The villain is only seen is Sam's visions, but never a true confrontation. I was truly surprised at this fact. There are also realistic situations going on in Sam's personal life that are not resolved at the end of this book, but are sure to be resolved eventually.

So what keeps this book from being Elite? It's too short and shallow. The case is not complex enough because Melody was probably told that this book could not be very long since it's been labeled "young adult." I would have liked it better if all the ideas Melody has for this series had been condensed in one longer book, because Sam's visions are sure to become a bore by the time this series is over.

All in all, Melody is a basically good author. She just gets bogged down in long young adult series.

3 stars

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