Happy Friday everyone! ♥
Brightest Kind of Darkness (Brightest Kind of Darkness #1)
by P.T. Michelle
by P.T. Michelle
Published June 27th 2011 by Patrice Michelle
Nara Collins is an average sixteen-year-old, with one exception: every night she dreams the events of the following day. Due to an incident in her past, Nara avoids using her special gift to change fate…until she dreams a future she can’t ignore.
After Nara prevents a bombing at Blue Ridge High, her ability to see the future starts to fade, while people at school are suddenly being injured at an unusually high rate.
Grappling with her diminishing powers and the need to prevent another disaster, Nara meets Ethan Harris, a mysterious loner who seems to understand her better than anyone. Ethan and Nara forge an irresistible connection, but as their relationship heats up, so do her questions about his dark past.
I think I’ve tried to write this first paragraph at least four times, but it just wouldn’t come out right. So I might as well just say it: Brightest Kind of Darkness blew my mind away! Seriously, it was so good and so full of all kinds of surprises, twists, turns and well, awesomeness, that I don’t even know where to start!
Sometimes I take notes when I read review books, because there are some ideas that just pop into my head and if I don’t write them down right then and there, by the time I sit down to write my review, I forget what I wanted to say at a specific moment or about a specific scene. Well, when I read Brightest Kind of Darkness… I got nothing. I was too immersed in the story, too busy reading or gripping the edges of my seat, too anxious about all the twisty events or too excited about finally figuring something out to just stop from my reading for even a minute or so to take a note. Not that I could have focused on anything else, anyway. All I got are some scattered bookmarks for favorite quotes like“31% Ethan = SWOON” or “59%-WTH just happened?!?!” or “78% - scene 2DIE4. *sigh*
All this may seem irrelevant, but my point is: this book was brilliant and it exceed all my expectations (which were already pretty high). Everything about it is different, surprising, engrossing, and well… pretty amazing! P.T. Michelle is such a talented author! She has this way with words that just pulls you into the story and makes you feel like you’re walking the school halls alongside her characters, seeing what they see and feeling what they feel. Everything is so realistic and all the elements in the story are very well balanced. Whoa!
Ok, I’ll try to make some sense here. LOL
Since she was seven, Nara’s been dreaming her whole the next day, so her life has always been predictable, a routine. When she was little, she tried to make some changes in the course of events and things didn’t end well, so she tried to avoid making any major changes ever since. She just learned to avoid unpleasant situations and to make adaptations to situations that affected strictly her. Until one day, when something had to be changed – and her whole world turned upside down. Ever since she prevented a bomb attack at school because too many people would have been hurt, things have gone from bad to worse. Who knew that one whispered “Can I just have one surprising day?” would give the saying “Be careful what you wish for” a whole new meaning!...
After that experience, any “adaptations” I’d made had been strictly stuff that affected me. And even those weren’t often. I’d learned the hard way that altering an event could affect how the rest of my day was supposed to unfold. Knowing what was coming—even if I didn’t like it—was better than not knowing what would happen if I changed something. Avoidance worked for me. But last night was the first time a dream had left me with only one choice. (Kindle Locations 158-162)
Weird, scary things happen around her. Her dreams start to fade until they disappear completely. Random kids at school get hurt frequently. There are too many accidents around her to be a coincidence. She has serious problems with her soccer teammates and even with her best friend. Her missing father sends her short, cryptic messages after years and years of silence. And then there’s Ethan, the lonely, quiet boy who avoids everyone and keeps to himself, yet who seems to pop up everywhere she is and to know too much about her. There’s something dark and mysterious about him – something that keeps everyone else away from him but draws her closer. The question is, are all these things related? If so, how are they related? What can she do to get her normal life back, dreams and predictability and all?
Many parts of my life—from losing my dreams and Lainey’s friendship, to being attacked in the woods and now my dad texting me—were being tossed and jerked around, just like my dirty clothes in the washer last night. And just like my freshly laundered clothes I’d pulled out of the dryer, I wanted my life to go back to being neat and squeaky clean. Instead, it seemed to be headed in the “wrinkled with set-in stains” direction.(Kindle Locations 1373-1376).
Eventually, she gets to hang out with Ethan more and to understand him. Also, there’s definitely some kind of otherworldly, strong connection between them, but finding out more about it doesn’t make things any easier for them – all on the contrary. They do get to spend more time together and to have feelings for each other, but they still can’t explain what’s going on and don’t know how to stop it. Because a dark, dangerous force seems to be looming over them all and avoiding the disasters it causes only makes things worse. The only way to make it stop is to confront it – but that could be the end for Nara - and everyone else as well.
It’s not easy to tell you what’s the story actually about without giving too much away. You just have to read it and see for yourself, you will be surprised, I promise!:D As I mentioned, there are a lot of WTH moments, twists and turns to make you mad with curiosity about what’s going to happen next. Just when you think you’ve finally figured it out, BAM! Something happens and you’re back to square one. And the ending was killer! There’s no way I could have seen that coming! It wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but it did leave me staring wide eyed at the screen and with lots of questions I really, really hope I’ll find the answers to in the next book.
Nara was such a great, tough character! She’s likeable and relatable; it was very easy to connect with her. Given that she always knew what to expect from her life, when she finally faces the unknown, she doesn’t freak out (not much, anyway) and doesn’t hide in a corner waiting for things to get back to normal. She’s scared, but also determined and ready to face everything - life - or whatever forces are in control now - might throw at her. Her inner strength is incredible! And when she finally feels like she can’t take it anymore and she’s ready to collapse, there’s always Ethan to catch her and to try to make things better for her.
“He was there for me, Lainey. You’ve been so busy with your new boyfriend, you didn’t even notice your best friend was going through some stuff. But Ethan did, and that’s enough for me.” (Kindle Locations 805-807).
And even though his actions were somehow questionable and unpredictable, his reasons were always good and sincere.
Ethan had this knack for leaving me breathless and teetering. Like a chair tilted on two legs, I was never sure if I was going to topple over or land on solid ground. (Kindle Locations 562-563).
Speaking of Ethan… Oh my! *sigh* He is a strong, swoon-worthy character (not to mention a blue-eyed hottie *drool*), but in a very realistic kind of way. He has a dark past, but he’s doing his best to get over it and to find a way to cope with all the craziness surrounding him.
Ethan was always so controlled, the brief display of raw emotion threw me. Sometimes he seemed much older, like he’d been through a lot. (Kindle Locations 833-834)
His relationship with Nara is the best thing that happened to him lately; he really cares about her and he would do anything to protect her. (It may or may not be because everyone else only sees his troubled past and dark side, but she doesn’t care about any of that and seems to see the kindness in his heart and to actually get him.)
The world in general is kind of gritty and scary, but the relationship between Nara and Ethan is very sweet and intense. The cuddling, heart-melting, knees-buckling kind of sweet. :D
“Thank you for being there,” I said in an unsteady voice. Ethan clasped my wrist and pulled me into his arms, holding me close. “I’ll always be here for you.” (Kindle Locations 1139-1140) *faints*
That’s why I said P.T. Michelle did an amazing job at balancing all the elements in this book. The high school drama, supernatural, unexpected, mystery, suspense, romance, everything is very well put together and make of Brightest Kind of Darkness a believable, yet very interesting and unputdawnable story that will definitely let readers breathless and eager for more!;)
And now I'll leave you with one of my favorites: (Ethan to Nara)
"…you are my peace, a bright light in all that darkness.” ♥
*Review copy provided by author in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you!
**I read Brightest Kind of Darkness last year (whoa! I can't believe I refer to sometime three weeks ago as last year) and it was one of my honorable mentions in my Top 10 YA Books of 2011. ;)
(it's only $0.99!)
I've heard it will come out in paperback soon and I'll definitely pick up one! The cover is gorgeous! Readers who enjoyed books like Falling Under by Gwen Hayes or Crave by Melissa Darnell will definitely love this one - maybe even more!;)
Have a great weekend!