Thursday, February 16, 2012

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

book cover of Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Title: Harbinger
Author: Sara Wilson Etienne
Release date: February 2, 2012
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn’t expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she’s going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she’s come home. She’s even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she’s the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can’t trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her – and the rest of the world too.

Harbinger is a book unlike any I have read.  It was not at all what I expected and in this case that only made it better. It was creepy, suspenseful, and at times, confusing (but in a good way!)

Holbrook Academy is a place for kids who need help.  Some of them have mental issues, some have anger issues, some have issues with authority, and some have issues that they would rather keep hidden. Holbrook, however, does not plan on helping them.  The headmaster of the school has a different agenda, one that is much more sinister.  Holbrook is a dark and twisted place that holds many secrets that tie the kids together.  It’s a unique boarding school type of setting but in this case it’s a boarding school you wouldn’t want to go to, even in your worst nightmares.  Even though it was such a horrid place it was a beautiful setting.

The characters were both the best and worst part for me.  Even though their situations are unlike any I (or anyone really) have ever been in they are very easy to relate to.  They are alone, scared, vulnerable, and just trying to find their places in Holbrook and the outside world.  Their problems are much bigger than most teenager’s problems but they are just like regular teens.  Well except for the occasional waking nightmare and the random outbursts at the authority figures at Holbrook. My only real issue was how uncaring Faye seemed at times.  She was very focused on what was happening to her and not the other kids even though they were going through the same thing.  She was even worse at the end.  I just felt that there were times when she was selfish and almost acted like a villain.

The story was one of the most dark and  twisted, suspenseful stories I have read. So many things happen that seem unexplainable but they are eventually explained.  Everything ties together remarkably well at the end of the book.  There is also some very fascinating history in Harbinger and it only added to the awesomeness of the book.

Overall, Harbinger is an amazing debut novel and Sara Wilson Etienne holds a lot of promise as a YA author.  On and another great thing about Harbinger is that it is a standalone!  =)

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  1. Christina Kit.

    I love books about schools that aren’t what they seem! This one seems especially dangerous!

    It’s awesome the characters were likable and you connected with them.

    Lovely review 🙂

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