Anna's Reviews > Manifest

Manifest by Artist Arthur
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Mar 06, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, ya
Read in August, 2010

If the premise sounds familiar, well, that's because this type of plotline has become a staple of YA fantasy, where the supernatural aspects are brought in by the love interest at the new school rather than the new kid discovering abilities of their own. So the strength of the book needs to stand on the telling rather than on the tale, since there are so very many variations on this theme.

So how does Manifest stand up? Well, a lot of success in YA depends on the voice. The narration has to be compelling and real, something that understands the way teens think. Krystal's voice is just a little off, though. She sounds more like an adult trying to sound like a teen than someone who's actually 15 years old. For example, when she's talking about her mother, she says "Janet is still pretty, even though she's old. I think anyone over thirty is old. Janet is thirty-five." A real teen wouldn't bother justifying the idea that Janet is old at thirty-five because in their mind, it's just an accepted fact. A teenage girl is also unlikely to refer to her peers as "young girls," although I suppose that one could have a little more leeway, depending on the circumstances.

The book tries for romance, but it fell flat for me, where Krystal said she was interested without making me believe it. The platonic friendships are much better drawn, though, and there are some great secondary characters.

This is very clearly set up as the first book in a series, although the main plot is wrapped up by the last chapter. It doesn't so much end on a cliffhanger as it does with dangling threads, so fair warning to those who prefer a concrete ending. It's not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but I've seen the subject matter handled before, and more deftly. Kelley Armstong's Darkest Powers trilogy comes to mind, for example.
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