Spell Fire by Ariella Moon - nice clean Young-Adult family read #review Review
Young-Adult fiction should be written so a young adult can read and relate. So many authors cram their books under the Young-Adult label when their target audience is actually people my age. Yes, label because YA is not a genre, it is and always was meant to be a suggested age range. Which is why I speak out against so many of the so-called young adult books. Hence when I find a Young Adult read, I am all over it like scales on a dragon :) Ariella Moon's Spell Fire had me smiling from cover to finish, for the simple fact it was a real YA read.
Taking a page from one of my favorite authors, Chuck Wendig (because nobody does "SNAP" like he does) in his article: 25 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUNG ADULT FICTION
Young Adult is an age range, TEENAGER (12-18), NOT a genre. YA reads cover all the genres!
It includes a teenage protagonist! The teenager suffers from teenage angst and problems teens suffer from!
Adults will like it (this is a hard one for me because of my hyper-criticism of young-adult reads written JUST for the soccer moms)
Shows them living it and doesn't preach a lesson.
Just like teens, stories for teens should take risks.
I am going to stop listing anymore, (but you should check that article out) because this book really does fit right up there in many of the things Chuck has the post, but I don't want to lose you.
Spell Fire, as is obvious from the cover and title, is an urban fantasy read. It fits in with fantasy and made my witchy goodness squeal with glee! I ran one of those new age stores in Texas, we had a lovely store much like Ainslie's aunt and uncle's and lost children hiding under tables. I think many of our towns have little stores like this where teens who are looking for answers find perhaps not the answers but more questions and also themselves, much like our protagonist does. I enjoyed how it the story embraced so much of what many label abnormalcy with these kids in such a normal way.
Of course we have a teenage protagonist, Ainslie Avalon-Bennett and she definitely has problems teens suffer from. This is one of the main reasons I was so excited. It is so hard to find a read with a real teen who is suffering something and have it written so honestly. I was one of those teens. I cut, I suffered in silence, my OCD was so bad and back in the 80's no one had a name for it. Mine was not like hers but it was still just as devastating. She also suffers from something which never happened when I grew up, divorce. But kids these days, mine included, have had to live through divorce. This brings me to my next point... why I label this as a family read: PARENTS SHOULD READ BOOKS LIKE THIS WITH THEIR KIDS!
I read the Twilight series with my girls, well I read them so I could discuss them and make sure they were apropriate.. Of course I forbid them to read past the third book till they were older. Let's skip my rant on that series, we really do not want me to go there. EXCEPT for one thing, reality for teens. It was realistic for Ainslie to suffer the way she did after losing her friend. Her parents behaving the way they do is realistic too, a slap in the face for the parents who are doing this, however. I want to gift this to at least three families I know who have done this or are doing this to their kids, the fighting and suffering and making a child's mental illness about them, not their children.
ARGH this is becoming preachy, and I am sorry! Spell Fire was just wonderful! I loved it just for the story, which covers #3! It reminds me where I came from! How I was and what I need to remember with my kids, plus it is just a fun story! Take all the great things included in this book which make it a great young-adult away from this review and what do I have to say about the book? IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I want my own dragon! *grin* Ariella Moon can throw a shuriken in my direction any day. The minute I finished this book I wanted to find out the back story from the other two and bought them to read. This is when I discovered this is a series you can read them out of order,though I know I will get some back-story explain some of the idiosyncrasies of Ainslie's OCD, but it did not take away from it. As far as #4? She finally started living when she was forced to spend the holidays with her aunt and uncle.
This story took risks, which brings me to #5. The risk in showing such private wounds which haunt so many teens was risky. Mental illness has a stigma attached to it and having such a character was risky. I fell in love with her the first time she washed her hands, and the 100th. Because, like may young adult books, it was written from our Ainslie's point of view it was like peaking into someones diary, almost. I am all smushy inside I liked this book so much! Oh and of course young love, what story would be complete without it? Teenagers are raging balls of hormones! Half baked cupcakes of gooeyness!
I only have one thing that bothered me, and perhaps it was because I did not read the previous books. What is up with her spiked heels? Anyone out there got the answer? LOL I can admit it is one of the tiny reasons I bought the other books, but not even close to the main reason, I swear. I just really want to know what is up with her obsession about the heals.. wait obsession maybe it is just this simple. For those that have not read it, it was just kind of a head scratching moment for me because it kept being mentioned, but again it didn't take away from the story!
With the characters, the magic, the fairy dust and the adult support staff! Spell Fire is a true magical read, from start to finish! It will sweep both you and your own teen up with each beat of the drum within its pages.
9 out of 10
Spell Fire Excerpt
I checked my watch. The meeting had started forty minutes ago. Nothing had been accomplished. No one had addressed the tote situation. My face warmed again. I shifted position. Instead of sitting against the wall with my legs straight in front of me, I sat cross?legged and hunched over my book. A tugging sensation rippled between my shoulder blades.
Thor glanced my way.
The more I thought about how much Aunt Terra and Uncle Esmun must need every cent the store and mystery school could generate, the more energy swelled behind me. Warmth radiated from my face. My whole body felt as if it was glowing. I tried to distract myself by flitting back to my book and my lengthy homework assignment list.
I couldn't concentrate.
Hazel had reached Aunt Terra and delivered what I hoped was the last pixie. She pivoted and spied me. The energy behind me compacted. It crackled with huge warrior/ninja/dragon chi — alert and ready to strike. The thought of straightening up and backing into it set the fine hairs on my forearms and nape on end.
Thor's eyes met mine. Our gazes locked, and I swear he did a Zen mind meld. Soothing waves of chi — energy — flowed through me. The brimstone stink evaporated, replaced by the calming scent of lavender and sage.
Hazel's gaze swiveled from me to Thor, then back to me. Looking buffeted by an unseen wind, she silently returned to her seat.
The corners of Thor's full lips curved upward. Two urges warred within me — the desire to leap across the room and kiss him, and the urge to arch my neck and breathe fire.
Thor's smile widened.