Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Harbinger

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
Publication Date: 2/2/12
Pages: 309
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Genres: Thriller, Romance
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge

Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents beleive Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers.

What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her newfound friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause.

Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too.

A rich and tautly told psychological thriller, Harbinger heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in young adult fiction.

The story starts very mysteriously as Faye is forced to go to a school for young delinquents and trouble makers because of her strange and all together terrifying behavior. Withing the first chapter or so you see Faye go though a horrifying hallucination right in front of her father and the head of the school right before they take her and lock her in her room and force a sleeping pill down her throat. This is no ordinary school, and Faye is no ordinary girl.

The characters in this book are one of the reasons this book is so interesting. Faye is the main character in the story and she often has hallucinations of water leaking though the walls and encasing her. She has a very interesting voice and she is a very curious and unpredictable character. Kel, a boy in Faye's "family" at school is a very mysterious character who always seems to be one step ahead of Faye, and it seems pretty obvious that he is keeping some secretes. I love how all of the characters that were in the story had very distinct personalities and that no one was an open book.

The plot of the story starts out very slow and is very much an introduction to everything that is going on in the story. Once you get father in the Thriller aspect of the story seems to start very suddenly and it is a little bit confusing until you really realize what is going on in the story. The ending is very unpredictable and it does seem like a very rushed ending to the story.

Overall this is a very interesting and mysterious thriller that is a great pick as long as you take your time at the end because everything comes at you very fast.


  1. I've heard some very mixed reviews of this book- some people love it, others hate it. I'm glad that you enjoyed it, though! I think I will still give this book a shot, but I'll definitely take your advice and read it slowly [I usually ten to read books kind of fast, actually]. Thank you for the great review!

    -Aneeqah @ The Brain Lair

  2. I'm totally down for mysterious thrillers! I'll definitely be reading this one soon. I actually have it checked out from the library now, so it'll be happening VERY soon hopefully :P