Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: September 18, 2012 by Spencer Hill Press
Received: ARC for review
Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.
Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?
But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time. [goodreads]
One of the reasons that draws me to Armentrout's writing is her ability infuse a contemporary novel with paranormal elements. The setting is usually in the here and now, one I can picture in my mind, littered with people who may seem ordinary from the outside, but harbor special abilities which slowly reveal themselves as the drama unfolds. Cursed begins a bit slow, but once the mystery begins to twist and turn, I found myself unable to put this book down.
Ember has had the misfortune of dying in a car accident with her family, only to be brought back to life by her sister. The irony in this story is that even though her sister can revive the dead, Ember has been bestowed with the curse of killing things with just one touch. The two girls are placed in a home with others who have special abilities, or gifts, as they do. This home presents itself as a safe haven for Ember's little sister Olivia, but something within the walls threatens Ember and leaves her questioning about the car accident -- was it truly an accident after all?
As most Armentrout's novels do, this one comes with a smoking hot boy -- Hayden. He's a good boy with special gifts as the others have, too. His good nature soul takes Ember under his wing, wanting to protect her from the nightmares she seems to encounter on a daily basis. There's one obstacle, though. Ember can not touch Hayden without killing him. This cruel twist of fate adds flame to the fire that Armentrout so deliciously knows how to write. I was fanning myself, turning the pages, at the close encounters these two had. I could literally feel the tension seeping from the pages.
The mystery involving these special gifts which Ember, Olivia, Hayden, and a list of other characters each possess kept my mind intrigued. Though a few moments were a bit predictable, I still found it enjoyable to read along and discover the plot just as Ember herself was. I am a fan of Armnetrout's writing, and will continue to read her addicting new tales. If you're in the mood for a stand alone novel with an overall contemporary feel, but just enough paranormal elements to keep the story fantastical - then I highly recommend reading this book.