Friday, June 08, 2007

Book Three: Powers by Deborah Lynn Jacobs

183 pages; reading and writing time: 2 1/2 hours

Powers by Deborah Lynn Jacobs. Roaring Brook, 2006 (1-59643-112-1) $16.95

Adrian is a really cute guy, and he knows exactly how to use it. Gwen is a Watcher, hiding behind thick glasses and oversized clothes. He's meant to ignore her; she's meant to despise him. Until they accidentally touch and energy surges. Suddenly Adrian is hearing people's thoughts and Gwen, who already had strange, prophetic dreams, is having visions of people in danger.

Instantly hooked on the power he feels coming from Gwen, Adrian sets out to win her over, and his new gift of mind-reading makes it easy--until Gwen catches on and strikes back with power of her own.

Powers alternates between Adrian's thoughts and Gwen's, sometimes ricocheting between them within the same scene; the immediacy makes it compelling despite the fact that a lot of what's going on is unpleasant. Caught up in an inescapable love-hate relationship, both characters wind up using power in nasty ways--including Adrian's superior physical strength and Gwen's imaginative uses of his gift to punish him. (Refusing to eat so Adrian will feel starving, for one.) Although each character has positive sides, it can be hard to get past their manipulations enough to like them. The ending offers a pretty-good redemption and romantic happy-ever-after (which I have to wonder about, considering the whole creepy mind-reading thing, but I'll let it go.) Fans of paranormal romance will probably enjoy this one. (14 & up)

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