Monday, April 1, 2013

Gift by Andrea J. Buchanan

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By:  Andrea J. Buchanan
Published:  March 27, 2012
Published By:  Open Road Media
Source:  Publisher (NetGalley)

GR's Summary:

Daisy has an electrifying secret that could save her life—or kill her

High school sophomore Daisy Jones is just trying to get by unnoticed. It doesn’t help that she’s the new girl at school, lives in a trailer park, and doesn’t even own a cell phone. But there’s a good reason for all that: Daisy has a secret, unpredictable power—one only her best friend, Danielle, knows about.  Despite her “gift” (or is it a curse?), Daisy’s doing a good job of fitting in, and a gorgeous senior named Kevin even seems interested in her! But when Daisy tries to help Vivi, a mysterious classmate in a crisis, she soon discovers that her new friend has a secret of her own. Now Daisy and her friends must deal with chilling dreams and messages from the beyond. Can Daisy channel the power she’s always tried to hide, before it’s too late? Extra features include:•   A short graphic novel telling Vivi’s story•   Danielle’s journal, revealing her deepest thoughts •   Lyrics and video links for Kevin's music (songs composed by Fredrik Larsson, otherwise known as YouTube sensation FreddeGredde)


I really enjoyed reading "Gift,"  by Andrea J. Buchanan.  The story was highly entertaining, and I was riveted to every page.  The way the author began the story, had me completely hooked!  "I found her in the bathroom of the 300 building.  Slumped in the corner, pressed up against her own reflection in the mirrored wall, she could have been crying, or sleeping, or ignoring me.  But I knew as soon as I saw her that something was seriously wrong."  (EARC, Loc. 44)  The moment I read this initial sentence, I wanted to know who this girl was, and what was wrong with her.  I thought this sentence was an amazing attention getter!  There were a variety of reasons that I enjoyed reading, Gift, such as, the supernatural subject matter, partnered with mythology, the mystery, the romance, the plot twists, and how the author incorporated multi-media to tell the story in a variety of unconventional ways, from multiple point of views .  

I loved all of the supernatural elements, and the use of mythology in Gift.  The main character in the story, Daisy, had a unique supernatural "gift,"  or as she sometimes referred to it, a "curse."  Daisy could control electrical currents.  Anytime she touched a cell phone, or mp3 player, the battery would die.  She had been kicked out of her old school when all of the computers in the lab had caught on fire.  Her home was devoid of electronic devices.  They didn't own a television, radio, cell phones, or even a toaster.  Daisy had to work hard at staying calm through meditation, and Yoga, to keep her gift under control.  The other characters in the story were Danielle, (Daisy's best friend) Kevin, (Daisy's love interest) Vivi, (Daisy's new friend) and Patrick, (the ghost.)  Vivi also has a gift.  Since she was a young child, she had been able to see a ghost, named Patrick.  It was fun, and interesting to learn the story of Orpheus.  I enjoy mythology a lot, and this was a fun surprise.  Throughout the story, many parallels were drawn between Orpheus, and the plot of, Gift.

The plot in Gift was entertaining, because it contained mystery, romance, and many twists, turns, and surprises throughout the story.  Both Daisy, and Danielle, consistently shared nightmares in which they were different women, in a past life.  Daisy was a woman named Jane, and Danielle was a woman named Veronica.  They were best friends in the reoccurring dreams, along with a servant named Lily, and Jane was in love with Veronica's brother, James.  I enjoyed the mystery of trying to figure out who was sending the girls the dreams, the meaning behind the dreams, who James and Lily were in this lifetime, and how it was all connected to the present.  I also enjoyed trying to figure out if Patrick was really a ghost that Vivi saw, or a product of her imagination, and if he was real, was he good, or evil...  The romance in the story was written perfectly.  Daisy and Kevin got to know each other really well, became friends, and liked each other a lot, but there wasn't any instant-love, which many Y.A. stories are guilty of.  Also, the romance didn't dominate the story.  It complimented the plot, but the main point of the story was Daisy's gift, the reoccurring shared nightmare's between Daisy, Danielle, and Patrick, the ghost.  As the plot was revealed, there were many twist, turns, and surprises, along the way.

My absolute favorite part of Gift was how Ms. Buchanan used multiple forms of media to contribute to the story being unique, entertaining, fun, and creative.   "Kevin," wrote songs for Daisy, and played them to her with his guitar.  At the end of the story, the author has the lyrics to these songs, and the links to you-tube videos of them being sung.  "Vivi," created a graphic novel to tell her perspective/point of view of the story.  This is also placed after the story ends.  I loved seeing the story simplified, and displayed with all of the detailed graphics, and to the point narration.  This was a fun, and creative way to retell the story through Vivi's point of view.  Also, throughout the book there were many graphics that depicted the girls dreams, and I enjoyed looking at them, and thought they added a fun, and creative flair to the story.  "Danielle," wrote in a diary, her thoughts, feelings, and, perspective on the events that occurred in the story.  This diary did an excellent job of showing Danielle's personality, and who she was as a character.

Gift was a well-rounded story that encompassed interesting, fun, and creative elements, such as, the supernatural, mythology, mystery, romance, plot twists, and a variety of artistic, and creative media, to build  a great story!  This story, and the way it was executed was unique, refreshing, and a nice change of pace from the typical and cliche YA books on the market.  I recommend Gift, if you are looking for a unique and entertaining ghost story!

I give, Gift, by Andrea J. Buchanan, 4 Fun-Flavored, Entertainingly Creeptastic, Fast-Paced, On The Edge Of Your Seat Stars!  I highly recommend this story, if you enjoy reading YA Paranormal Romance, and  specifically ghost stories.  This was the perfect story for readers who enjoy unraveling a good mystery, love delving into the realm of the supernatural, and enjoy the incorporation of mythology.  Gift exceeded my expectations, and if you love a plot-driven story, that will have you guessing, as well as being surprised by some plot twists, and surprises.  Gift is a great choice for a bookish escape!

"And then he leaned forward and lightly, sweetly, tenderly, just barely kissed me on my lips, his hand on my hair, a gentle shock  I felt chills, and the nervous excitement in my stomach blossomed into all-over fluttery euphoria."  (EARC, Loc. 2397)

"I felt myself falling.  Though of course I wasn't literally falling.  It was the sensation of falling, the kind of fall you experience in dreams, spinning out into space, spiraling downward, around and around, with no sense where gravity might take you.  (EARC, Loc.  4321)

Book Trailer of Gift

Song Written for Gift, "Is It All Right?" 

Song Written for Gift, "Don't Look Back."

Andrea J. Buchanan is a New York Times bestselling writer whose newest book is the young adult novel GIFT. Her work includes The Daring Book For Girls, Mother Shock, and six other books. Before becoming a writer, Andi was a classical pianist; she studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where she earned her bachelor of music degree, and continued her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, earning a master’s degree in piano performance. Her last recital was at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.

Andrea J. Buchanan's:  Website/Goodreads/Twitter/Google Plus

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