Title: First Impression [Shadow Maven Paranormal 1]
Author: Pauline Creeden
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: 4 Stars
Chira Kelly thought she didn’t need anyone…until she met Ben.
Because of one ugly rumor, Chira lives as an outcast at her school. Which is fine with her, because she works better alone. Always has, always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old schoolhouse, she’s wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group.
Tragedies and accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting to. Going into First Impression, I was somewhat put off by the present tense of the narrative—which no big surprise here, isn’t my favorite tense. In fact, more often than not, I loathe it. It took me awhile to get used to the story right off the bat, and this was further compounded by a multitude of punctuation/grammar mistakes—mostly stemming from the author’s predisposition towards using correlative conjunctions incorrectly. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who start sentences with “and” and “but”; I’ll admit, it drove me a little crazy. Once I was able to push past that, the narrative was mostly okay. I’ll admit: it was a little choppy for my tastes. Sentences were short and concise, and while usually this is a good thing, eventually it gets monotonous if it isn’t broken up a little bit. The first chapter was certainly a push.
Once I sunk into the story, however, I fell in deep. Ms. Creeden has this amazing ability to draw the reader in with engaging personal details and very real character development. None of the characters felt 1-dimensional to me, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with Ben and Chira specifically. The dialogue and actions of the characters were natural and familiar in a way I think will speak to most readers, and the plotline was entertaining. The story held bits of romance, thriller, and ghost story, and it was fun to follow along with Chira as she and her friends began to untangle the truth behind what was happening at the old school house.
I’m going to keep this review short because I don’t want to give away any spoilers of what is to come, but I will say that despite it’s rocky beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed First Impression. It had the familiar feel of a good old fashion ghost story, but with a splash of realism to really bring out how terrifying the whole situation was to the teens involved. I’d be happy to read this again, and to recommend it to other readers. If you enjoy paranormal YA fiction, you’re probably going to love this.