A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this psychic teen romance is much, much milder than the author's Vampire Diaries series. There's a love triangle with lots of kissing (and an energy-draining process that seems rather sexual), one teen is attacked by a drifter and saved, and some teens fall into madness under the effects of an evil psychic crystal. A few minor characters die from far-off "psychic attacks" that are barely described.
What's the story?
When Kait is offered the chance to develop her psychic gifts at an institute in San Francisco, she jumps at the chance. She's one of five teens chosen by Mr. Zetes -- a mysterious, rich, powerful man with the requisite number of guard dogs and evil secrets. It doesn't take long for the five -- Kait, Rob, Anna, Lewis, and Gabriel -- to raid Zetes' secret files and get a sense of his evil deeds; turns out the first wave of teen subjects didn't fare so well in the presence of a crystal that enhances powers ... at the price. In the second of the trilogy, The Possessed, the fivesome goes north in search of a good, healing crystal to combat Zetes. The third story in the trilogy, The Passion, finds Gabriel going to work for Zetes and Kait going in after him as a spy. She and Rob are an item, but there's something about moody Gabriel that's just too tempting to ignore.
Is it any good?
It's hard to figure out what makes this a bestseller. It's probably just because the author wrote The Vampire Diaries and the three-in-one set is a bargain at $9.99. Sure, the ideas are intriguing -- and when the five psychics get mind-linked, that's a fun touch -- but the writing isn't worth 700+ pages of anyone's time.
If you're in it for the romance, yeah, Kait gets whomever she decides to go after. But Rob is such a wooden character that he makes Gabriel much more appealing by comparison; it's no wonder which way Kait's head turns. If you're in it for the fantasy, there are many better options out there, none of them centering on a hokey crystal.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes or breaks a fantasy-romance. How could this really long read have been better? What are your favorite fantasy-romances?
If you could have a psychic power like the teens in this book, what would it be? Would you trade some sanity for more power, or not?
What do you think of Kait's tempation to go for the "bad boy"? Do you think she could really change him and get him to open up to her? How hard is it to change a person?
For kids who love fantasy and romance
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