Great YA debut
In Kelley Armstrong's young adult debut, The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1), we meet Chloe Saunders. On the day she gets her first period, late at age 15, she starts seeing ghosts again for the first time since childhood. After an encounter with a ghostly janitor, Chloe is sent off to receive treatment at a teen group home. However, Lyle House isn't what it first seems, and she finds herself surrounded by other teens with supernatural powers that all have been labeled as mental disorders. Soon, readers are sucked into Chloe's world where spirits are raised, friends and enemies are made, and conspiracy runs deep.
I really enjoyed this book. Armstrong's writing was strong for a YA novel, and I liked the backstory she built for her characters, especially Chloe and Derek. Chloe is smart and sure of herself, even when boys are around; it was refreshing to see such a strong female character. When romantic or sexual tension appears, it's done well with a light touch. There's a lot of mystery and suspense, especially at the end, and I'm looking forward to what happens to the characters in the next book.
On the down side, the writing was a bit slow during the middle and the ending was unsatisfying. I knew the book was part of a series before starting, but the ending literally leaves the reader in the middle of a conversation. The cliffhanger did pique my interest for the next book, but it left me also feeling very frustrated at the author for creating such an unfinished ending.
If you're looking for romance, be forewarned that this book focuses more on character development and action. The story is really about Chloe, her friends, and the trials they must go through as teens with supernatural powers. You can sense there will be more romance in the books to come, though. I'm really looking forward to delving into the sequels, The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2) and The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3).