Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: The Mark

The Mark
Jen Nadol
2010; Bloomsbury; ISBN 978-1-59990-431-3 (hardcover)

Summary: Since she was a little girl, Cassie has occasionally seen a glow around certain people. It's not until she's sixteen that she realizes what the mark is: a sign that the person will die that day. The only person she can tell is beloved grandmother, Nan. But Nan's death sends Cassie into a tailspin. Sent to Kansas to live with an aunt she's never met, Cassie tries to cope with this gift. It will take her philosophy TA boyfriend and a friendly psychiatrist for Cassie to learn the reason for the mark.

A paranormal tale, grounded in reality and with an unusual outcome, The Mark puts a new spin on an old concept. Being able to foresee someone's death is an idea that has captured the imagination since the ancient Greeks. In Nadol's hands, Greek mythology is woven into the tale of a girl struggling with an unusal power. Cassie is both sympathetic and guarded, one who slowly comes to understand herself. Pondering choices vs. destiny and the ethics of telling the truth or staying silent, Cassie finds her own path. Pair this with Numbers by Rachel Ward if focusing on the death omens; for a primer on free will contrasted with destiny, match up The Mark with Meg Rosoff's Just in Case.

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