Book Review: The Summoning

The Summoning (Darkest Powers #1)
Published By: HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 2008
Page Count: 390
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy

I finally started this series after having the books for quite some time. 

Chloe Saunders at first appears to be a normal 15 year old teenager, except for the fact that she has yet to get her period. After a traumatizing experience at school that involved a gruesome ghost, her life quickly became anything but normal and she now wishes her only worry was her not getting her period. This public breakdown at school resulted in Chloe being sent to a group home, Lyle House, supposedly for troubled teens dealing with psychological problems. There, she was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Initially, she accepted the diagnosis and cooperated with the nurses and doctors so that she could be discharged as quickly as possible and resume her 'normal' life. 

Chloe quickly realizes that she might have something in common with the other troubled teenagers at Lyle House and that Lyle House may be more than just a group home. 

I liked Chloe's character a lot. Her inner monologues and remarks were so easily understandable and relatable. Each of the friends she makes at Lyle House all have their own issues as well as their own endearing qualities for the most part. 

I also really liked Derek who is a big, muscular, 15/16 year old, rough-around-the-edges-kind-of-guy who, unfortunately, was suffering from "puberty smackdown". We later learn the reasons for this. 

Overall, this book was intriguing and a page turner. It was an easy and enjoyable read, although there were some moderately graphic and intense scenes. I'd say it's more of a younger teen book, but still captivating enough. And because of the age of the characters, it's acceptable that there really wasn't any strong romantic scenes... yet. There were certainly some hints of things to come, though. I have to admit that I do love a great swoon-worthy romance but the focus of the story kept me interested enough to not miss that element too much. 

After years of frequent moves following her mother’s death, Chloe Saunders’s life is finally settling down. She is attending art school, pursuing her dreams of becoming a director, making friends, and meeting boys. Her biggest concern is that she’s not developing as fast as her friends are. But when puberty does hit, it brings more than hormone surges. Chloe starts seeing ghosts–everywhere, demanding her attention. After she suffers a breakdown, her devoted aunt Lauren gets her into a highly recommended group home. 

At first, Lyle House seems a pretty okay place, except for Chloe’s small problem of fearing she might be facing a lifetime of mental illness. But as she gradually gets to know the other kids at the home–charming Simon and his ominous, unsmiling brother Derek, obnoxious Tori, and Rae, who has a “thing” for fire–Chloe begins to realize that there is something that binds them all together, and it isn’t your usual “problem kid” behaviour. And together they discover that Lyle House is not your usual group home either…