Shay Tafford’s childhood has been fatherless, filled instead with memories of speaking to the dead. She is forced to hide her unique ability from those living around her. That’s why it’s been comforting to have Jeremy, a child ghost, as her confidante. But recently he’s been absent, perhaps lost as her father is. When Shay meets Hugh, the guy she’s had a crush on for weeks, and finds he can speak to ghosts too she’s just starting to find a normalcy in her life.
But as Hugh reveals the truth to Shay, about who she really is and about what it is she can do, he erases all chances she had at a normal existence. Turns out talking to ghosts is just scratching the surface of her genetically engineered gifts. Shay learns she may be part of an age old prophecy that could save the entire race of cryptids. But can she?
Brina Courtney brings a whole new world of paranormal to life for me. I have never read a book about cryptids, which in case you haven’t either, are genetic mutations based off human DNA. The example used in the book to help Shay, the main character come to terms with the fact that she is a cryptid, is the Mothman.
Shay figures out pretty early in her life, like six years old, that she is a little bit different than the other kids in the neighborhood. How you ask? Well, she sees ghosts. In fact, her best friend all growing up is a ghost named Jeremy. Jeremy died in an orphanage fire in the early 20th century, and said orphanage is not far from Shay’s house.
Unfortunately, Shay and Jeremy part ways after some tumultuous teen fight and he never returns after she tells him to leave. Fast forward to the end of senior year in high school and another ghost puts in an appearance, this one also claiming to be part of the devastating disaster at the orphanage.
All the while there’s a guy lurking on the periphery of Shay’s world. Yup, you guessed it—he’s different like Shay. And this begins the exciting and unique storyline of Shay’s otherworldly abilities as a cryptid.
I won’t tell you too much more about the plot so you can discover it on your own, but I will say that Shay is a fantastic character! I loved her attitude, which was not snarky or snotty—which I can sometimes take or leave. But instead she was smart, thoughtful, and practical. She didn’t’ do stupid things just to have the plot twist in a new direction, and she was strong and courageous.
The romance between Hugh and Shay is sweet and progresses at a normal pace. Of course she falls for him when she spies his hotness on the local college campus! He’s hot! But she’s careful in how things proceed and when they finally do get together you’re like aching for it just as much as Shay is! Just kiss!
I especially enjoyed the biology in this as Shay’s little brother, Chad, explains how their cryptidism might’ve come to be. That was well researched by Brina Courtney.
Besides a journey of self-discovery, the unraveling of a mystery about the orphanage, and the developing romance—there’s also a nice bit of “training” to help Shay be the best cryptid she can be. I enjoyed that part a lot, reading about her attempts to “change” were awesome!
I loved Shay’s character, it really made this book. Brina Courtney writes her characters like you’re in their heads and I thought it was awesome. After the main storyline warps up the ending has a bit of a cliffhanger, but it’s no big deal because book two, Capture, is already out, and book three, Settle, was just released last week.