Author: Christina Leigh Pritchard
Seventeen year old Lisa Brown’s life is falling apart. First, her mother and father divorce, then their house forecloses and now, her mother has decided to commit herself to a psychiatric hospital.
If that weren’t enough, she must leave sunny south Florida to attend a boarding school full of geniuses in cold, Lynn, Massachusetts. The city where the locals chant “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin; you never come out the way you went in.”
And, they aren’t kidding. Lisa must live in a tiny shack with two strange teenagers, a dog named Pig who growls when you look at him and a cat named Rat. “Mind the cat,” everyone says. What the heck is wrong with this place?
Lisa thinks she’s landed in her own house of horrors with the anti-social Alex and his facetious sister Ally. But, the real drama begins the day she is struck by lightning…
“Lisa, if you don’t finish packing your things, I swear you’ll go with nothing.” My mother, Amber, threatened. She wrapped duct tape around a medium sized box and carried it out to the car.
Our home foreclosed and it was eviction day. My mother couldn’t keep a job; no matter how simple or easy it was. She was beautiful with long blond hair and bright green eyes that sparkled when she spoke. She landed every job she applied for but several weeks later and her new employer realized all Amber really was; was a pretty face.
I looked nothing like my mom. I was seventeen but still didn’t fit into my body. My hips were too big, my boobs too small and I had Dumbo ears which of course meant that I had to wear my hair down—always. I had long bangs that helped cover up my oddly round, black eyes and I could never find shoes that fit my big feet.
“Lisa, I’m not going to tell you again, we leave in twenty minutes. I can’t afford to miss your train.”
“Yeah well you could try to hide your enthusiasm.” I rolled my eyes and grabbed an empty box. I surveyed my room. What could I possibly take? I lived in Florida, the sunshine state. I was going to Lynn, Massachusetts. The old saying, “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin” played over and over inside my mind. How could my mother just drop me off in such a place? Lynn was filled with high crime rates, lack of good paying jobs and supported virtually on nothing more than fish markets and the GE factories. At least it was by the water. I couldn’t imagine life without the ocean and sand between my toes. I could do without the sun tans, I guess, or the
hot skaters who practiced on the benches but not the salty water and my toes buried in the warm sand.
“LISA! Get in the car.”
I evaluated the few things I had. I grabbed two pairs of jeans and anything with sleeves. I picked up my sneakers and my Adidas jacket from off the floor and I tossed my book bag over my shoulder. Inside the box, I put the only family heirloom I had; a picture of my mother and father; before I was born. …When they still loved each other, still laughed, still hoped. That must’ve been something to see. The only time my mother smiled or laughed was during an interview. It was never real and when her eyes set on me, she only frowned.
I placed the few articles of clothing on top of my picture and carried the box out to the trunk. My mom had an old 1993 Mitsubishi Mirage with hardly any paint left. The worst part—the air didn’t work; complete suicide in a place where the temperature stayed around ‘90 degrees.
“Just take your sweet, precious time there Lisa.” She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel. “I hope you don’t act up with your Aunt Millie. She would be just devastated and when she falls over with a stroke or heart attack from your disrespectful behavior you will have to carry her twenty miles to the nearest town.”
“A little dramatic, don’t you think?” I snapped, tossing my book bag into the back. The seat belt automatically locked me in when I closed the door. (The air conditioning didn’t work, there was hardly any paint left on the vehicle but, hey, at least the automatic seat belts still worked!) “Roll the windows down, mom, it’s hot in here.” I leaned my head out the window to catch the last, hot Florida breeze I’d probably ever feel.
“Aunt Millie said you could help her out with her chickens and she’d pay you so that you could buy some warmer clothes while you’re there. I’m sorry I am such a bad mother.”
“Why are you leaving me with some woman I don’t know? That’s bad parenting. Mom, you’ve never met this lady. What if she’s a serial killer or a chicken thief or some kind of lunatic?”
“I have to do this.” Her eyes stayed glued to the road, “I need to figure out what is wrong with me. I ran off your father with my emotional problems and I don’t want to drag you down with me too.”
“Mom, I don’t want to go stay with some stranger.” She couldn’t hear me. She blasted the radio and sang loudly, bouncing her head from left to right. She slapped me in the shoulder. “Stah—op!”
“Sing with me, Lisa, it may be a long time before we get to do this again. I may be in that loony bin for a while.”
I didn’t think it was funny at all. Who wanted a mother that was crazy? What would I tell people when school started? So, Lisa, where is your mother? Oh, new potential friend, she’s probably in her padded cell wearing a strait jacket. How about your mom? I’ll be miss popularity for sure.
Cin is a great young adult paranormal story that has fresh concepts and ideas. The characters are unique and have their own personalities, which makes them seem like real flawed teens. It's easy to identify with Lisa because she's dealing with so many issues - the normal teen problems, trying to help her mentally ill mom, crushes on cute guys, going to a weird boarding school, etc. On top of these problems, she gets struck by lightning and begins a whole new life that she never even thought possible. She has to learn how to adjust to this new existence and just how she fits into her new life.
I thought that the story was really interesting, but the dialogue of most of the characters didn't seem natural. That put me off a bit and pulled me out of the world the author was trying to create - I just kept noting in my mind that the dialogue and word usage felt scripted and forced. Otherwise, I enjoyed the story and it flowed well. There were some romantic parts in the book that I felt were cliched and pretty sappy, but it didn't hinder my reading or enjoyment of the story too much - it probably would appeal to most readers. I really love reading paranormal young adult books and I think that the author brought something new and different to the genre with this series. I'm excited to continue reading the series to see how things will go for the different characters and to see how things will turn out.
About the Author:
Christina Leigh Pritchard was born and raised in South Florida. Her first stories were written at the age of nine in $0.15 wide ruled, spiral notebooks (which were supposed to be used for class), and in the various diaries she kept. Stories she wrote from age nine to twelve fill about four storage boxes!
Since she's upgraded to a computer, she's completed over fifty books and still going strong. Her genre's include dark fantasy, young adult, drama, suspense, historical romance, multicultural, comedy, poetry and many more.
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