Raven by Allison van Diepen

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

author’s website: Allison van Diepen
release date: February 10, 2009
appeals to: young adult
genre: paranormal
length: 304 pages
overall rating: 3.5

*the back cover*
She wants him . . . .

Zin dances with fire in every step, speaks in a honey-sweet voice, and has eyes that can peer into your sould. Nicole’s friendship with him is the only think that saves her from the boredom of school and the turmoil of her family life. It’s no wonder she is madley in love with him. But she can’t understand why he keeps her at a distance, even though she can feel his soul reaching out for hers.

Zin is like no guy Nicole has ever met, and he carries with him a very old secret. When Nicole uncovers the truth, her love may be the only thing that can save him from it.

*my review*
This was an interesting story about a teenage girl living in Manhattan, who loves break dancing, working at a club, and her break dancing trainer Zin. There were a few things about this novel that were strange to me, but overall, it was a really interesting story. I really did enjoy the story, and I read it in one sitting (on the airplane ride home from Florida).

Raven is actually a nickname for Nicole, the main character, and the nickname plays a key part in the plot toward the middle and end of the book (telling you how would be spoilery). While Raven is a nickname, throughout the book, Nicole is most often referred to as “Nic,” so for consistency sake, I’ll use that. Nic works at a nightclub in Manhattan, and while the job seems glamorous and fun, it is a little strange, since she’s only 16. The club – Evermore – is a popular hangout for break dancers in the city, so Nic and her fellow breakers, the Toprocks, often get a chance to show off their moves. During these scenes, there were pretty elaborate descriptions of the sequences of moves the kids would do, but since I know very little about break dancing, it didn’t really paint much of a picture in my head – not a specific or accurate one anyway.

Beyond the break dancing and bar-working, there is also a paranormal element to the story that works for and against the budding romance between Nic and Zin. As the plot unfolds, there are a lot of times that Nicole has to make some very difficult decisions, and while she is a very mature teenager, she still has the hesitation that shows her age.

At times while reading this story, I felt like I could relate to Nicole. Most of her friends are guys, and her no-nonsense type of personality was something I could really relate to. (In fact, my “Memorable line” is from her explanation of why her friends are guys, and I chose it because I’ve heard myself make similar comments many times in my life.) She also thinks that family is important, not to say that hers is perfect by any means. I thought this was nice to see in a time that there are many stories about dysfunctional families. Overall, this was an interesting, good read, with an intriguing plot, paranormal characters, and a bit of romance too.

*short and snappy*
writing
: straightforward – Nicole’s no-nonsense attitude is really captured in this story and since it is from her point of view, the entire telling has that same feel
plot: complex – there are a lot of elements in this story (family, romance, the paranormal stuff, and break dancing) that are all woven together to create a very interesting story
characters: also complex – Nicole is definitely a teenager, but she’s dealing with a lot of things throughout this book, so she has a depth that makes her realistic
memorable line: I’m not a tomboy, but I think I was born to be friends with guys – they laugh, they don’t backstab, they make dirty jokes, and they don’t give a shit. (p. 28)
judging by the cover: I love the cover, in fact, that’s why I picked the book up in the first place!

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