(The Essential Elements #1)
~Released: Feb 27th, 2016
~Length: 368 Pages
~Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
With her mother long deceased and her father recently deployed, Valerie Moore is sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Being a Navy brat has made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends isn’t high on her list.
Time with her aunt, however, soon convinces her that a life of loneliness really isn’t what she wants. So, she opens up and makes a few friends - friends with secrets.
Her love life quickly becomes a mess. Torn between the conflicted heartbreaker next door, the persistent jock at the top, and the rugged college bad boy, Valerie finds it almost impossible to choose just one guy.
Romance isn’t her only problem, though.
Secrets are revealed about her family, her friends and relationships, and her whole world…
But the biggest secret of all is unveiled when Valerie discovers she has Elemental powers, unleashing a rapid chain of irreversible events.
“If you like elemental persons, if you like SYFY, if you like YA, this book is for you. If you don’t like any of those, then you are missing out!”
– Kelly’s Nerdy Obsession
“An interesting look at elements and magic in a fascinating way that incorporates so many concepts: politics, tradition, love, loyalty, secrets...”
Elle Middaugh lives in the Allegheny Mountains outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, with her wonderful husband and three beautiful children. Most of her time is spent raising kids, writing stories, playing video games, reading, and attempting to keep a clean house.
She’s a proud Navy wife, a frazzle-brained mother, a fan of health and fitness, a lover of hot tea and iced tea, and a believer in happily ever afters.
--- for blog posts, interviews, etc. please visit me!
*This would be a 3.5, however it is better than a 3, so I'm rounding up to fit standard rating systems.*
Family secrets, a new town, a struggling teen from a shattered home, and romantic drama...lots of drama.
For the start of a series, this book isn't missing much. It has relationship struggles - both romantic and domestic - as well as family secrets that pop up, making Valerie's already difficult life a bit more complicated.
For a kid, growing up with a father who deploys regularly is difficult. When you mix in the new school, new home with her aunt, and all the challenges that go with fitting into a new life, every day holds new challenges. I liked how Valerie handled the life she found herself in, and the situations she had to overcome. Everything she was dealing with would have been enough to stress anyone out, and of course, as the "new girl" in school, she attracted the attention of several guys, adding to the stress on her shoulders.
That is probably the only part about the plot and story itself that I didn't enjoy much, was the three-guy line-up. I know it's a common element in YA novels, but honestly, I enjoyed Valerie as a person enough to want to hear more from just her. I wanted to see her handle more, and wished she would have left guys alone for a while - not only for the fact it would have made her situation less stressful, but it would have also made the story feel a bit deeper.
The story itself was interesting though, and I enjoyed the surprises. Learning family secrets with Valerie was exciting, and I hope the next book in the series dives more into them, and shows her exploring those a whole lot more.
The only other thing I didn't like about the book, was the overall writing flow. It was written very dramatically, and felt like it was trying to be a soap opera, dripping with way too much goopy emotions. For this particular story, it seemed as though it needed a different energy over all, and I simply didn't jive with the energy it does have. Completely personal objection, and not something that would necessarily cause me to tell others to stay away, as a lot of people like that kind of soupy drama added into these kinds of stories.
As a whole, this book was good, and I wouldn't be opposed to reading more of Valerie's story. I would recommend this story to others, and I'll definitely be on the lookout to read more from this author.
*I was given a complimentary copy of this eBook, from the author via YA Book Tours, to read in exchange for an honest review.
Let me know what you think of this book, in the comments below!
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