Fifteen-year-old Maya has just lost everything: her parents, her home, her life. Now she must start over in the mysterious forests of the Catskills. While trying to fit in at her new high school, she befriends another lost soul, Cayne. Together, they must solve the riddle posed by the discovery of a long-dead aunt, an enigmatic grandmother, a monster in the woods, and a unique, glow-in-the-dark feather. Somehow, Maya must have the courage to discover not only who she is, but what she is.
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This book had an interesting premise, one that I spent a good part of the story trying to figure out right along with Maya. I picked up on the clues, especially the few in the forms of letters that we were given and she wasn't, but was never really clear on what exactly it was her family descended from. Up until the very end, I was unsure, which made the discovery well worth it. The major problem I had with this book is that time moves way too quickly. It's already months in by the time we get to the end, and yet almost nothing has happened. Cayne's brought in to live with them almost immediately, and there's no room for us to see any actually relationships forming between the two of them, or between Maya and her brother. There's one point in the book where her brother snaps at her for not giving their grandmother and Jakov a chance, however, in the beginning he felt the same way about them and it's unclear what's changed his mind. When he finds out the weird things his sister can do, he thinks it's cool and strange, and then the two go off to class like it's no big deal. It just didn't seem like characters reacted in a way that was believable most instances, which threw me out of the story. If you find a scary monster in the woods, are you still going to camp out there? What? Can it not claw it's way through the thin walls? Another thing, is that the tense constantly changed. It would slip from past to present, which was also annoying. Back to Maya, she makes assumptions when she should be thinking more level heatedly, and doesn't make them when the situation calls for it. For instance, she found photos in an abandoned cabin and automatically assumed that it meant Jakov was a killer. Because he couldn't possibly have just been in love with the girl from the pictures, right? Then, when her book turns back up mysteriously in her locker, she doesn't even think to assume it's from the guy who'd taken it in the first place. I understand there are certain things that characters can't know in order to move the story along, but if their reactions (like turning a blind eye) seem forced, then it doesn't work. I gave this book three stars, despite my little rant, because the concept in the end was different and more original then some of the other stuff out there. I've never read the myths that it's supposedly based off of (at least that's what I read in another review, so I apologize in advance in I'm misinformed about that) but now I want to. Cayne's part in all of this is also something that I want explored. All in all, I fell that with some touch ups on the tense, and then maybe the lengthening of some scenes and condensing of most others, this book get a lot better. I'm glad that I read it and I would recommend to anyone who has a few hours to sit and read about something other then vampires and the usual.