Untraceable (The Nature of Grace #1)
by S.R. Johannes
by S.R. Johannes
Released: November 29th 2011 by Coleman & Stott
Formats: ebook, paperback, 315 pages
Everyone leaves a mark. What if yours could be erased?
Untraceable is a new teen wilderness thriller with a missing father, a kickbutt heroine, and of course - two hot boys.
16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.
When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.
One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.
Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.
"This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page." - Kirkus Reviews
"Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page—and still begging for more!"
-Kimberly Derting, author of the The Body Finder series
Untraceable was another nice surprise for me. It’s a YA contemp mystery/ thriller, so it’s not something I usually read and review on the blog. But it was a great novel and I’m so glad I had the chance to read it (I wonder why I haven’t read something like it before).
Basically, it’s the story of a young, strong, sassy girl who faces the dangers of wilderness, scary criminals, reluctant officials, twisted events and confusing emotions, all to find her missing dad.
Grace’s dad has disappeared. Everyone assumes he’s dead, including the town’s officials, but Grace refuses to let go just yet. She hasn’t lost hope that her father is still alive out there somewhere in the forest, so armed with all the knowledge, hunting and tracking skills her father thought her and a lot of courage, she starts looking for him every day. And things get more twisted and dangerous with every step she takes.
Since her dad disappeared, she’s gone through a lot. Her mom is kind of out of it, trying to bury her sorrow in work. The town’s officials and even her dad’s old friends are convinced he’s dead, so they don’t want to help her look for him. Her ex boyfriend is still there for her, but he doesn’t really seem to get it either. The forest seems to be her only friend – that is, until she meets Mo and things get a bit more interesting - and complicated.
While searching the woods, Grace finds some clues that her dad might be still alive. She goes to the town’s police officers and tries to make them look into it, but they won’t have any of it. Apparently they’ve already kept the case open longer than they should have just because Grace thought she’s found something useful every now and then. So, what’s a girl to do? Go out there and put all the clues together and solve the case by herself, of course. But her snooping around gets her in trouble with some seriously creey hunters. They’re definitely up to something bad and our fearless girl is immediately set to find out what that is, but…*sigh* If only she didn’t almost get herself killed (or worse) in the process… And that’s when Mo comes in. *dreamy sigh* He’s mysterious and his presence in the middle of nowhere is questionable, but he also saves Grace and takes care of her. He has some secrets of his own, but at least he seems eager to help Grace and to protect her. They get to spend a lot of time together and there’s a lot of sizzle between them, but scary things happen around them as well, and all that only makes you devour every page and find out what happens next and what’s the truth.
What I loved most about this book is Grace. Reading from her perspective was so much fun! OMG, she’s soooo adorable! I want
to be like her her to be my bff. For real. She’s spunky, clever, strong willed and very caring. She’s sarcastic, single minded, kickbutt and independent – she won’t let people push her around, no matter how much she cares about them and their opinion. She’s ambitious and she knows what she wants - well, most of the time. With two hotties making their way into her heart it’s hard to decide what to do. Eventually, things get seriously tangled, but she doesn’t shy away from the danger. She’s set to do everything to find her dad and to prove everyone they’re wrong. That makes her really stubborn (ok, maybe a little too stubborn sometimes, but it’s quite understandable). She’s also fearless – seriously, walking through the woods in the middle of the night knowing there are some creeps with guns who want her dead around there? *shudders* That takes some courage (and maybe a bit of recklessness?)
And then there’s the setting. Wow, the fresh, imaginative and vivid world the author created was part of the story as much as the characters were! The wilderness, the sounds, the colors, everything was so well described and seemed so real! I could almost feel the moss under my fingers, get the smell of the trees and hear the splashes of the river. Pretty amazing!
I breathe through my mouth and refocus my attention on how the blooming bushes splatter the green forest with blotches of pale pink. I take in their sweet perfume, letting it replace the holiday scent. After hiking a couple more miles, the murmur of gurgling water beckons me. I gallop to the tree line and stop to watch the river. Mossy boulders crowd Bear Creek as it glistens in the sunlight. I close my eyes, inviting the sun to stroke my cheeks and warm my soul. (Kindle Locations 531-534).
And let’s not forget the boys. Wyn, her childhood best friend and ex boyfriend clearly still cares about her and tries to help her with her crazy plans – even though he can’t always understand her and doesn’t agree with her methods. He’s really sweet and cute (as Grace puts it, “not hot cute, but adorable cute”). She’s not really over him either, but she doesn’t want to be distracted by her confusing feelings for him at the moment. Finding her dad should be her priority.
After Wyn leaves, a mixture of emotions stirs around inside me. Why is it guys always seem cuter after you break up? In Wyn’s case, he’s never been hot cute, just adorable cute. But mostly, I’ve always digged his sense of humor. He makes me laugh even when I don’t want to. On paper, we’re probably the perfect pair. A comfortable blend. So different, not alike in most ways, yet still go together somehow. Like peanut butter and jelly or cookies and milk. (Kindle Locations 1252-1255).
Speaking of distractions, let’s not forget Mo. :D He’s more the flirty, “hot cute” type. He’s mysterious, protective, sexy and has a delicious British accent. He has his own secrets and almost broke my heart by the end of the book, but I still love him, hehe.:P
Mo crowds me, and I try hard not to stare into his eyes. My fear mixes with excitement and anticipation, concocting an explosive reaction. The sweats. Probably not listed in Cosmo’s “Top Ten Ways To Attract A Hot Guy.” He places his hand on the wall just inches above my head. With his other hand, he moves a damp strand of hair that’s clinging to my cheek. My breath quickens. His silky lips graze my cheek and move to my ear where he whispers, “I like you, Grace.” (Kindle Locations 2345-2349). *melts*
*clears throat* What I also found very clever and interesting about this book is all the info about surviving in the wild and tracking found throughout the story. There are awesome little survival tips at the beginning of each chapter. Also, Grace’s and her dad’s older friends give some very useful and inspirational advice and life lessons through their stories. (actually, this whole book can be a life lesson, so I really recommend picking it up!)
As I mentioned, it’s not the kind of book I usually read, and because it’s a bit out of my comfy zone, I found the middle of the book a bit dizzying and I felt like the plot was dragging. The ending was quite surprising; I’m very curious where things could go now. Overall, it was a really, really, good book and I will most definitely pick up the next book in the series when it comes out - and I suggest you do too!;)
Oh, and I LOVE the cover! It fits the story and the main character perfectly!<3
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*Review e-copy provided by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you so much!
And stay tunned, Shelli will come by later today to talk about strong, kickbutt heroines in YA! Woohoo!