This book will be available January 19th, 2010.
Sixteen-year-old Cassie Renfield has always seen the mark--a light glow reminiscent of candlelight--but it's not until she follows a man to his death that she understands what it means. Cassie can see when a person is marked for death. She doesn't know how or where, only when: today.
When the mark appears on Cassie's grandmother, she tries and fails to change her fate. The mark seems utterly useless, but Cassie can't ignore it. Desperate for answers, she searches her memories, her summer philosophy course, even her new boyfriend, Lucas, for any clue that might explain her fate each time the mark appears. Cassie's not entirely sure she should use the mark like this, but with each occurrence, she finds answers she needs--answers she never expected.
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 9/10
Total Score: 64/70
Obtained: Free ARC provided by publisher (BLOOMSBURY)
Age Appropriate? PG-13
Cussing: Littered throughout.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Some teen drinking.
Sexual Content: Implied sexual activity.
Disturbing Images/Violence: A few graphic deaths; one suicide; some rather disturbing images of insanity, etc.
I expected this book to be good--and it was. Enjoyable, intriguing, tortured, and dramatic, this book is deep, thoughtful, and philosophical while simultaneously being a seriously good piece of writing. The Mark is an intense two-hundred-something pages, and each one is worth it.
Cassandra was a perfectly likeable character, just good enough to be endearing, just flawed enough to be human, just confused enough to be a real teenager, yet mature enough to be one too. Her thought-process and narration were believable, easily relatable, and made for a good story. Her relationship with other characters, particularly Lucas, was so realistic as to be almost frightening. As her feelings toward him changed, mine did--and it was wholly through characterization that I felt this way, through his own actions and Cassie's reactions.
Jen Nadol's debut is an earthbound story that questions life, ethics, happiness, and love in a smoothly riveting way. It's not just another supernatural love story or a cliched "Sixth Sense"-like fantasy novel, but a statement about our world and our fate. The magic and the twisted reality and the hot guy aren't what's important in this novel. The journey, the depth, the insight--that's what carries the weight of The Mark.