Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: All Lo Campbell wants is to be a normal teenager–to go to one high school, live in one place, and have one real friend. Instead, she travels the country with her mother, chasing the unknown, the what else that’s out there.
Until one day, the what else chases back.
Determined to rescue her mom from whatever supernatural being took her, Lo will need more help than a badly dressed demon obsessed with country music. She’s going to need a Tracker–and lucky for her, she finds one. Shaw is strong, Good-looking, possibly available, and utterly infuriating. Sure he may have secrets, and his help costs more than a brand-new car, but she’ll have to deal with him if she wants to find her mother–and get her home alive.
The Things They’ve Taken has a lot of positives. First there’s the elegantly beautiful cover. Then there’s both the creepy and humorous elements, intriguing characters, a plot that is fast-paced and interesting, and an ending that’s a strong set-up for the next book. Both Dolores, aka Lo, and Shaw have had less than ideal childhoods. Lo obviously loves her eccentric mom but moving constantly according to her mother’s whims has taken a toll on her. I actually admired her because before she meets Shaw, she’s tough and secure about herself. She’s set on rescuing her mom and won‘t let anything or anyone get in her way. Once she hires Shaw though, some of that toughness and security melts away a bit. Suddenly she‘s jealous, quick to anger, and dangerously impulsive. It annoyed me a little because I didn‘t see any reasons for the change. Shaw has a tragic past and hides his hurt and vulnerability behind a tough-as-nails exterior. He also keeps secrets from Lo, which once she discovers them, puts their relationship in jeopardy. As far as the world-building, it’s imaginative and descriptive, and possesses enough uniqueness to make it stand apart from other YA paranormal books. There’s also plenty of action, which had me finishing this in one sitting. In the end, the only thing that prevents me from giving this a perfect 5 star rating is Lo’s and Shaw’s relationship. I truly like them as characters separately, but when they’re together they don’t always bring the best out in each other. Because of this and the sniping and angst it generates, there are times when their issues come perilously close to overtaking the story. I still really enjoyed it though and highly recommend it to fans of YA paranormal fiction. I’ll definitely be checking out the sequel where hopefully there’ll be even more world-building and greater communication and cooperation between Lo and Shaw.
About the Author:
Katie McElhenney was born in Philadelphia into a big family of curious kids and patient adults. A voracious reader and unapologetic daydreams, she knew she wanted to become a writer someday. With the support of an amazing family, great friends, and some truly spectacular teachers, she has written short stories, poems, and novels. A solar-powered human, she now lives in Los Angeles and uses the great weather for year-round trips to the beach and long runs (where the best inspiration happens). Find out more about her at:
Facebook: Katie McElhenney