Today is the release day for Shelli Johannes-Wells book, UNTRACEABLE, and in honor of that occasion I wanted to post my first ever review.
My book flap summary – Grace’s upbringing hasn’t been like other sixteen year old girls. She’s spent just as much time in the wilderness with her Forest Ranger father, learning everything she can about nature and how it needs to be protected now more than ever, as she has in an actual classroom. Then her world is turned upside down when her father mysteriously disappears during a routine patrol and months of searching yield very few clues regarding his fate.
Now it seems Grace is the only person who hasn’t given up on finding her father, straining all of her relationships in the small little mountain town where they live, even the one with her mother. But Grace isn’t ready to give in to popular opinion, even if it means pissing off a few friends and the local sheriff to find out what really happened in those woods. In the process she stumbles across a handsome young stranger who shares her affinity for wide-open country. Grace reluctantly permits herself to enjoy her time with the outsider, who stirs up feelings she’s never experienced before, but soon they are both put in dangers way when she uncovers the real reason for her father disappearance. Was she too late to recognize a conspiracy that reaches far beyond the mountains she calls home?
Let me preface the remainder of this review by stating not only is this my first attempt at reviewing, but I’m also not the target audience for this book. This definitely belongs in the YA genre, with a lean towards the female reader, but I have to say that I still enjoyed the book a great deal. Let me tell you why.
What I really enjoyed: I think the highest praise I can give Shelli’s book is that I finished it on a Thursday evening and felt compelled to go camping with my son the next afternoon. The imagery of life in the wilderness that her words formed in my mind was very real and appealing, without being overly descriptive and dragging down the story, which can often happen. The supporting characters leapt off the page with loads of personality and Grace as a MC was very easy to relate to. The book was also a quick read because of the equal emphasis on the action and suspense.
Nitpicks: Not being a YA, or a regular YA reader, the romantic triangle (which seems to the mandatory in these type books) and Grace’s teenage angst was distracting and at times pulled me out of the overall story. I will concede though that Shelli is so good at communicating the dynamic of teenage rebellion, that as a father I tended to react negatively, which may or may not have been the desired result. I also felt some of the plot elements surrounding the resolution of the mystery challenged believability, but I’ve had that same issue with some best-selling mainstream offerings lately, so I’ll cut her some slack on that point. J
You don’t have to trust my layman’s opinion; UNTRACEABLE has already been well received by Kirkus Reviews, which I highly recommend you read by clicking on the link.
Overall, UNTRACEABLE was a satisfying read that the YA adult reader will devour quickly and no doubt come back looking for more.
PS. Round 4 of WRiTE CLUB is waiting for your vote, and the Deja Vu Blogfest scheduled for December 16th is going to be EPIC! If you haven't signed up yet, do so right now.