In the Spotlight, Book 1 of the Mayne Attraction series
e-book, Smashwords, downloaded in Stanza format
e-ARC provided by author
read July 14 &15
Reviewed at http://www.fangswandsandfairydust.com
Description of Book (marketing copy)
Ellery Mayne is a high school girl who makes a disturbing discovery. After a foiled abduction attempt, she realizes that an entire team of security personnel are secretly shadowing her every move.
As she works to make sense of this startling development, she secretly transitions from the one who is being observed to the one who carries out observations of her own, testing the limits of a secret service detail who think they are conducting transparent surveillance on a clueless teenager.
When the mystery behind the secret security unravels, Ellery is faced with decisions that involve her future and the hopes of two unlikely love interests: a handsome but conflicted security agent who doesn’t realize she knows about him, and her first love—a boy that broke her heart—who has returned to explain his actions and his feelings for her.
Told from Ellery’s perspective, she puzzles over what could interest not one but two handsome suitors and a whole security force. Suddenly this quiet loner realizes that her life is In the Spotlight and she is the Mayne Attraction.
Earlier this week another book blogger asked if I would like to review an e-book written by a friend of here. The description sounded as if the book had a paranormal element, and it was only when I got to the identity of the antagonist that I realized that the work was a straight piece of literature, by then I was wrapped up in Ms. Mauren’s hypnotic style.
This is a YA book and the author pays attention to vocabulary by defining unfamiliar words in parentheses. However, this is done in the context of a word game Ellery and her mother play, so I was never sure if the device belonged to the author or the character. I think if it were to be identified as the author’s I would find the use of obscure words and definition overly pedantic. If it belongs to the character, it is very much in line with her personality.
The prose in this book is beautiful, elegant even. The female protagonist is very deeply revealed to us and she is certainly likable. I found the plot unrealistic in several details that would act as spoilers. If this were a fantasy piece (possible?) I could make a case for world building, but the foiled abduction spoken of in the marketing copy above and Ellery’s subsequent realization that she was being watched would have been enough to send me to the police even as a teenager.
I found it very hard to believe some of the supporting characters, although they were certainly very pleasant individuals who helped advance the story. But, their existence in Ellery’s world seems improbable. An important question I never found answered is who was trying to abduct Ellery and I never heard a good enough justification for the security detail having been hired in the first place. The blogger who asked me to do the review spoke about that with the writer for a while and apparently the next two books in the series are told as from Gray's point of view and Ash's. And she wanted to leave that and the further explanation of the security detail to be explained from their point of view. I prefer series where the books each stand alone and don't leave major cliff-hangers. People will buy the next book because the first is good. There are lots of ways to learn what happened other than buying.
In summary, this book offers, great character development, very engaging, though unrealistic story, fabulous prose and style. While I had that one issue, I enjoyed the read. I would recommend this book for older teens as it involves the more physical aspects of relationships, and it is literature enough for most adults. With books like this, I think a parent has a great chance to engage with their teenager by also reading the book and discussing it.
Note: The author has a great website upon which you can read 60% of the book, and it even has music embedded in it (not automatic – you get to choose whether it plays). A great feature is photos of locations in the movie. I often find myself thinking I wonder what a location looked like, with this website you get a chance to find out.