Release Date ~ September 18, 2012
Spencer Hill Press
ARC received from publisher
Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.
Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?
But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.
I grew up on X-Men, so I've been sympathetic to the touch of death concept since I was a kid (hello, Rogue). The idea has always fascinated me - I'm not really a touchy-feely kind of person, but never being able to touch someone (EVER) sounds terribly lonely. Even though the concept is familiar, I'm very impressed with how unique and fresh different authors can make it and I've been a fan of Jennifer's previous books and knew this was one I had to try out.
And while I enjoyed the conspiracy theory angle of Cursed, it wasn't quite as creative as I had hoped for yet still managed to be a quick and engaging read. It's fun and fairly light, but nothing spectacular and the disappointing part for me was how forgettable the book was in comparison to others.
- A protagonist all on her own:
The hardest part for Ember is that she's become so used to relying on no one but herself; she hasn't had much help from others in her life, and she's wary of trusting anyone. This makes her extremely independent and terribly lonely. But I think that's something to help form a sense of camaradie between Ember and readers who have felt that way before in their lives.
- Sisterly bond:
Hands down my favourite aspect of Cursed was the relationship between Olivia and Ember. I loved that Ember was willing to do anything for Olivia, and how endeared Olivia was to Ember. You could really tell that they cared so much for each other, and added an interesting dynamic to the story.
Unfortunately, I was less impressed with the romantic relationship between Hayden and Ember. He seemed like he came right out of a YA character cookie cutter, and didn't stand out from any other generic love interest. He was arrogant and a little snarky, but with a heart of gold - I was really hoping Jennifer would go for a different type of character with Hayden but that was not the case here. He's still cute and the tension between them is enticing, but I desperately wanted something new and different.
The story also felt largely unfinished to me. There were a lot of interesting ideas introduced, and very few of them seemed to be followed through to their full potential for this to be a standalone. I have really enjoyed her other books though, and I think a large part of my issue with Cursed is that it just didn't stick with me and I was anticipating something as great as her other books.
So this is a book that is easy and quick to read, and those who are less familiar with Jennifer's books or other standard YA fare may be more interested in Cursed than I found it.