blo Teens Read and Write: MANIFEST by Artist Arthur

Thursday, August 12, 2010

MANIFEST by Artist Arthur

by Artist Arthur
pub: Aug 1/Harlequin 
Teen Fiction
256 pages

When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom's hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.

But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He's cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she'd ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren't the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky's death, will she lose him for good?


 MANIFEST combines paranormal, mystery and coming of age in a unique novel that has several supernatural elements and a delightful cast of characters.

I loved the cultural diversity of the characters and their different backgrounds and backstories. The mysterious origins of the paranormal powers is interesting and there are still answers to be had in sequels, but I got enough to find it intriguing. 

The plot is slow to develop - there is a lot of Krystal whining about her life and talking about her daily happenings - but the story picks up and becomes more fun as the mystery of Ricky's death ties in with other strange happenings. Krystal, Sasha and Jake work together and make a clever team.

Krystal complains a lot which made it hard to like her. Hey, it wasn't just me. Even Ricky, the dead guy, called her out for being a spoiled brat, rude to her mom and step-dad when they were trying to be nice and generally being a morose whiner who didn't appreciate her family. 

Her parents don't help. The adults won't tell her anything - "That's grown folk talk" - and keeping Krystal in the dark about their family situation, when she is obviously in emotional trouble, just isn't smart. Some of the family drama is resolved in the end but I wish Krystal's character had gotten less annoying sooner, and the adults had been brighter. 

The secondary characters are a treat - Ricky (dead guy), Sasha and Jake are all unique and engaging. Krystal has an adorable guy, Franklin, pursuing her and while the romance isn't developed here, it's sweet and looks good for the sequels. 

Be aware that the mystery and deaths revolve around teen exploitation but nothing is overt or explicit - anything revealed isn't more than you would see/hear in a news story.

THE COVER: I like it - especially because of the accurate portrayal of the main character. 
BOTTOM LINE: I would have enjoyed MANIFEST more if I liked Krystal better/sooner, but if you can get through her whining phase, the story picks up and the other characters make it worthwhile. Light on romance but original paranormal premise, a bit of magic and gripping mystery. The plot has a satisfying arc while leaving enough questions that I'm ready to find out what happens next!

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Aleksandra said...

Thanks for the review, Alyssa! I've been interested about this one :)

Blodeuedd said...

Whining...yeah I am not sure about that part. But great review :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. It certainly seems a nice story, should give it a try!

Adriana said...

Oh, I so don't like whiners. It sounds pretty interesting though, so I might have to read it. Thanks for the honest review.

Faye( Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm) said...

ditto about Krystal. I like the whole ghost whisper part of the book! Can't wait to finish it :D

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

i read this one too, i agree with a lot of what you said. I didn't really love it. Franklin was a sweetheart though :) And you're right I LOVE the cover!!!

Natalie said...

I have this one sitting on my e-reader (from NetGalley). I've read a lot of mixed reviews on it, but I'm still planning on giving it a shot. Your review let me know more of what to expect. Thanks!

Gaby G said...

I have the same feelings about this book, specially Krystal. But as you said it's original.

Tales of Whimsy said...

I had a problem with the slow beginning. Maybe I should try again. Thanks for the review.

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

I am reading one of those whiney characters now. I think I can look past it!

Wings said...

i dunno about this just doesnt seem to "call" to me...and i cant stand whiners....

Fi-chan said...

I SO AGREE! Gosh she whines and complains a lot -_- I'm glad she kind of got over that stage and moved on.

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