Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lily Dale: Awakening

I just finished Wendy Corsi’s Lily Dale: Awakening. After Calla’s mother dies, Calla goes to spend the summer with her estranged maternal grandmother in Lily Dale, a spiritualist community in New York. Almost everyone in Lily Dale is psychic, including Calla’s grandmother. At first Calla is skeptical, fearing she’s wound up in the loony bin, but slowly she comes to accept that psychic phenomena is real—and that she might be capable of communing with the dead.

I liked this book but had some frustrations with it, not the least of which was learning that it’s book one in a series. Many unanswered questions remain at the end. For instance, the reader suspects that Calla’s mother’s death is due to foul play and that a certain mysterious character is involved, but since Calla herself doesn’t realize this until the very last page, the mystery isn’t resolved. In fact, the reader realizes several things much, much sooner than Calla ever does, and this is a big aggravation. Since Calla doesn’t get things—and one presumes the author thought the reader wouldn’t get them either—the same information is repeated again and again. And again. Details important to the plot are practically written in pulsating neon script, so by the time Calla finally puts the pieces together the plot twists aren’t exactly the revelations they were meant to be. Rather than saying, “Oh, wow!” I often found myself thinking, “Yeah, Captain Obvious, I figured that out fifty pages back.”

Despite these few frustrations, the story is an interesting one. I liked the complications of Calla’s love life—dumped by her long-time boyfriend in a text message, Calla goes on to catch the eye of two handsome guys in Lily Dale—as well as the mysteries established (but not solved) in the first book. When I turned the last page I definitely wanted to know the outcomes to several plot points. Luckily the second book, Lily Dale: Believing, comes out today. I just hope that the author decided to go with a more subtle hand when writing the second installment.

Ooh, and while looking up the book on Amazon.com I discovered a nonfiction book about the real town of Lily Dale. Can’t wait to read about the real place.

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