Abandon by Meg Cabot
Seventeen-year-old Pierce knows what happens to us when we die. That’s how she met John Hayden, the mysterious stranger who’s made returning to normal life—or at least life as Pierce knew it before the accident—next to impossible.
Though she thought she escaped him—starting a new school in a whole new place—it turns out she was wrong. He finds her.
What does John want from her? Pierce thinks she knows… just like she knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven. But she can’t stay away from him, either, especially since he’s always there when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. But if she lets herself fall any further, she might find herself back in the place she fears the most.
And when Pierce discovers the shocking truth, that’s exactly where John sweeps her:
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I have one heck of a girl crush on Meg Cabot. But can you blame me? She’s the awesome sauce on the ice cream sundae that is YA. Her books are fun and whimsical, the tone is always perfect and somehow it feels like she’s describing me in high school. That in itself is an immense talent—making people feel as if you know and understand them. Also, she created Michael Moscovitz and thus, will always be a genius in my book. Needless to say, Ms. Cabot is my favorite modern author. But you probably already knew that (because she’s yours too, obviously).
So when I found Abandon in my mailbox last week, I sort of freaked. Well, not sort of. I started dancing curbside while my children watched in astonished horror. I mean, I realize Meg Cabot didn’t send it to me herself (wouldn’t that be amazing if she was all, “Let’s send a copy to Tee, that YA Crush girl with the cute-bordering-on-insane obsession with Princess Diaries?”). Anyway, I’ve been so excited to read this book that I pretty much tore through it immediately.
Abandon is a total departure for Cabot. It’s based on the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades, ruler of the Underworld. As such, it has a darker vibe and feels different from the novels fans have come to know her for. Pierce is the narrator of the story, and as always, Cabot captures the thoughts and inner monologues of a seventeen year old with such succinct detail and perfect ease, it’s hard to remember she isn’t one herself.
As the result of an accident, Pierce had a near death experience— meaning she technically died and was later revived. During those moments of her death, she had what her doctors considered to be a typical response to the trauma her mind and body endured. Only Pierce didn’t see a bright light or hover above her dead body as a spirit. She didn’t have a hallucination caused by head trauma or brought on by the drugs pumped into her system. She truly visited the Underworld and saw a young man who attempted to keep her as his captive. She managed to get away and awoke, alive and shaken by the whole experience.
Two years and many therapists later, Pierce and her mom attempt a new beginning in Isla Huesos, a small island in the Florida Keys. Pierce takes a stab at normal life. She really does. But trouble always seems to find her. Since her accident, Pierce has had a multitude of strange experiences, including being kicked out of her hoity toity girls academy back in Connecticut and being pursued on more than one occasion by John, the man she eluded when she escaped the Underworld. She fears John, yet part of her is drawn to him.
I really enjoyed Abandon. While at first it felt so different to be reading about death and cemeteries, Cabot’s lighthearted way of sharing her protagonist’s thoughts were a grounding force that kept the story from feeling in any way morbid. The effect is just right: a mysterious and kind of creepy tone that manages to be fun. And since the myth of Persephone is so fascinating in and of itself, I loved seeing it translated into a YA storyline with a creative spin, instead of merely being a modern retelling of the same old tale. You don’t have to be and expert in Greek mythology to follow it, and yet the more detail you understand, the more you can appreciate her twists on it.
Also, since we meet Pierce two years after her accident and recovery, Cabot slowly shares the details of her death, her experiences down under (and I’m not talking ’bout Australia, people) and what in the heck happened at her old school, drawing a mysterious picture that’s highlighted with touches of humor and Cabot’s signature style. I found it difficult to put down because I was constantly looking for the next piece in the puzzle.
John is a character I look forward to getting to know in the next two books (Abandon is the first in a trilogy). He has a darkness about him obviously (uh, ruler of all the dead guys. Kinda dark) and an air of mystery surrounding his past, his intentions and his attachment to Pierce. Much of that is revealed in this book, but it still feels like there is so much to be said. His intense need for her, so obvious in their Underworld encounter, is kind of swoony, if not a little scary. He’s that bad boy who you know you really shouldn’t like, but want to make out with anyway.
Crush Intensity: 4.5/5 I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the story. The ending left me wanting more.
The Way I See It:
I had such a hard time casting Pierce because the image on the cover of this book is so vivid and beautiful. I think Victoria Justice would perfectly represent Pierce’s youth and beauty while still hopefully exemplifying her dark fascination with death.
Alright guys, confession: I’ve never seen Friday Night Lights. (Tee cringes). I know, I’m not sure why. There’s just very little television that interests me, so unless you’re a Mad Men, A Tudor, a shirtless Salvatore or on a classic like The Twilight Zone or I Love Lucy, I usually have no clue who you are. Taylor Kitsch on the other hand, I know because I saw Wolverine (the hubs has a clear man crush on Hugh Jackman, and who am I to judge?). That image of Mr. K in the alley fighting Wolverine, looking all cool with his little black hat, was all I could see every time I pictured John. And I’m SO okay with that.
Abandon is in stores April 26. As previously mentioned, I received my copy from Scholastic (thank you!).