Sunday, June 17, 2012

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Release date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: FSG
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 373
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Ebook available from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

Needless to say, Struck has a pretty unbelievably awesome premise. "Mia Price is a lightning addict." With the first sentence of the synopsis, I was salivating. Lightning has always fascinated me, though I know almost nothing about it. Addiction of any type is not explored very often in young adult novels, and I've never come close to seeing anyone write about lightning addiction. I knew instantly this would be a book I had to read, and the synopsis did not disappoint me. Struck is a fast-paced, addicting, and utterly realistic novel that will hook you from the beginning and not let you go even after you've read the last page.

Mia was immediately a stand-out narrator and protagonist for me. The girl knows how to stand up for herself, but she takes countless blows to help her family, and ultimately save them. She is being pulled in several different directions and is trying to make decisions that will do the most good, but not at the expense of her mother and brother's safety. Her loyalty and fierce love drew me to her and made me care about her.

Another aspect of the book that I felt was spot on was the depiction of a city post-natural-disaster. Throughout the novel, Los Angeles is a place like no other. Those who have never wanted are homeless and hungry. No one has enough food. No one has enough money or supplies. Sometimes the water works, sometimes it doesn't. Aid comes, but is often intercepted before it can reach it's destination and is taken by force. You can get what you want if you have enough cash. There is chaos where there used to be order, destruction and sadness in place of normal life.

The cults were just one more thing I enjoyed in Struck. They were presented in a way that showed neither one as the "right" one or the "wrong" one. We explore the pros and cons of both along with Mia, and can understand the decisions she makes. The message to think for oneself is clear here and I think Mia is a perfect example. I also thought the relationship between Mia and Jeremy was developed at a perfect pace and was treated with the caution it needed to be realistic and believable.

Struck is an outstanding debut and a fascinating read. The captivating premise makes for a wild ride. Sure, I could see the big twists coming a mile ahead, but I enjoyed the book nonetheless.

Risk a paper cut? I've been electrified by Struck. It is an experience unlike anything I've read, and definitely one I'd risk.

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