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I hadn't heard much about After Obsession before I read it, but I knew it was something to get excited about because I'm a really big fan of Carrie Jone's Need series. And the pretty cover and spooky synopsis were just the icing on the cake!
I thought that Jones and Wedel did a fantastic job on the book as a whole, but particularly our two protagonists and the supernatural element of the story. Aimee was a strong character, very likable, but it was Alan that I liked the most. His loyalty to his family was touching, and I loved that he'd do practically anything to protect them (hello, confronting the demon inside your cousin? Not really anybody's idea of fun). His Navajo/Native American background was fascinating, refreshing in the world of YA because you (well, I) don't see diversity very often. Maybe it's just the type of books I read? And can I just say how awesome his little 'medicine' bag was? LOL. There is a demon in their midst and I don't know about you guys, but I for one thought that aspect was portrayed with skillz.
Although I loved both Aimee and Alan individually, I wasn't completely sure about their relationship together - at times it fell a little bit flat for me, like they had no chemistry between them and it didn't seem much like they could be anything more than just friends. I would've liked to see that developed more.
There was also some lack of development in subplots that left me a little confused, and there was parts that I felt were unfinished. For example, the mystery with Courtney's father. It wasn't clear if he actually drowned. I remember the family fearing the worst, but it don't think what actually happened was explained. I would have liked it to be though, because the whole reason there is demonic behaviour in their town is because of Courtney and how much she wanted her father back.
This idea of The 'River Man' was intriguing, exciting and also quite scary. I don't think I'll be rushing to get near any flowing water anytime soon! I guessed most of what would happen in the book quite early, but it was very well written.
Overall, I thought After Obsession was an interesting read and a great addition to the paranormal genre. I wasn't expecting the darkness of the story, but I will say that it made it that much more creepy, and I loved that. I do hope Jones & Wedel will write more books like this together, fast-paced and spooky!
== About the book ==
After Obsession is a standalone YA novel by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel. It was published by Bloomsbury on 5th September and the book is 320 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.
== Plot ==
Aimee and Alan both have secrets that they want to keep hidden. Their pasts and special abilities make them different from everyone else. When Alan and his mother move to Maine, his and Aimee's lives are thrown together. Strange things are happening to the people around them and they can't help but to spill their secrets to each other, not realising just how alike they actually are. Aimee and Alan have the feeling that they're being haunted but have no idea how to stop it.
It isn't Aimee and Alan that is being haunted though, it's a friend of Aimee's and Alan's cousin, Courtney. With her father missing, Courtney invites something dangerous and deadly into her life not realising it is about to take over everything that she is. Only Aimee and Alan can get rid of what is haunting her but they are running out of time to figure out how to do that before Courtney's life is taken from her.
== What I thought ==
I'm not really sure what I was expecting from this book but it definitely wasn't what I got in the end.
Firstly, I have to mention the cover. I am a big fan of Carrie Jones' 'Need' series and I was happy to see that the cover for After Obsession was very similar to the covers for her other books. The 'Need' books are in no way related to this one but the colour scheme is the same and it has the same kind of design feel to it. The reason why this was a good thing for me was because of how much I like books to match. Some books by authors don't go together well on a shelf but After Obsession looks completely at home and in its rightful place next to Jones' other books.
Just recently, I have been thinking that the YA genre needs a bit more originality. There are so many vampire, werewolf etc books out there now that I sometimes get a bit bored of reading about the same kind of things. Jones and Wedel definitely brought something unique and original to the table with After Obsession. It if hadn't been for the strong image on the front cover, I would have thought that this book was about something completely different and not demon possession. I was so happy when I realised what the book was actually about as I hadn't read anything like this ever before. Yes, we have had book with demons as main characters etc but nothing like this. The fact that a demon is trying to possess Courtney creeped the hell out of me. The writing style is so dark and scary that I was kind of glad that I read it in the day time. I think I would have been a little scared had I read it at night.
Sometimes having a book told from different characters can be a massive mistake but I thought it was perfect for After Obsession. Aimee and Alan have very different voices so even without their names on the first page of a chapter, you can easily tell who is telling the story. If this book hadn't been told this way, I think we would have missed out on a lot of important things and not everything happens when Aimee and Alan are together. Infact, quite a lot happens when they are apart and I loved being able to find out things from each character. Also, this way of telling the story gave a lot of insight into both main characters' pasts that we wouldn't have gotten to know about otherwise.
Aimee was a wonderful main female character and she had so much going for her. Her troubled past and disjointed family make her such an interesting character because she has had to deal with a lot over the years and isn't really sure of who she is. Because of her past, Aimee is a strong character and not afraid to fight for what she wants or what she thinks is right and I loved that about her. She is quite outspoken and doesn't really let anyone tell her what to do and for the most part, she doesn't care too much about what people think of her. From the whole story, you can see that Aimee is someone who cares a lot for her friends and would do anything for them which isn't something you see all of the time in YA books anymore. Some female characters are too quick to dismiss their friends once a hot guy comes along.
As much as I liked Aimee, Alan was by far, my favourite of the two characters. Having a character of Native American background isn't something we see often (or at all) in the YA genre so this was something really interesting to me. It was great to see how Native American culture was woven in with the main plot and also how it intertwined with Aimee and what she can do. Alan was really different from the other male characters in the book mainly because of coming from a different town, growing up within a different culture and liking completely different things. This really made Alan stand out to me as he wasn't someone to follow the pack just to fit in and this was a great characteristic for him.
After Obsession had fantastic pacing. The story starts off quite slow, giving us time to really get to know the characters and what they have been through in the past but at the same time, the main plot is woven in with all of that. Little things were revealed throughout which lead up to an exciting and emotional ending. I did think that some things that happened were a little predictable and could tell early on that they were going to happen but I didn't mind this at all. There were enough twists and shocks to make up for the predictability in places.
Overall, I loved this book so much and don't have anything bad to say about it at all. Jones and Wedel make a great writing duo and would happily read anything from them again. Highly recommended!