The Mark The Mark by Jen Nadol
ARC review copy provided by Other Shelf Tours

Author web site

PJV’s Quickie POV:  Quick PJV fact, my first year of college I went through like ten majors, psychology, ancient history, philosophy, english, and then finally landing on Fine Arts.  This book gives a quick touch on most of my college obsessions, which is one of the reasons I liked it; probably more than I would if it didn’t cover those topics.  Most of the books I read usually have a bit of action in them, a climatic end, a little kung-fu – or maybe some other kind of action *leering mischievously*.  This book wasn’t one of them, it was mostly an internal struggle and self-discovery novel, which is usually something I don’t read, therefor the – if it hadn’t covered topics I was interested in, I probably would have become easily bored and pushed it aside.  That being said, the novel kept me engaged because of it’s interesting mix of philosophy and psychology and the focus on decision making and the ubiquitous question of Fate.

Review: Cassie Renfield (every time I read her name I thought, Dracula) is afflicted with a unique psychic ability, which she just comes to realize the depth of in the beginning of The Mark. She can see a halo around a person if they are destined to die that day.  It is a grizzly talent, worsened when she sees the mark on her grandmother and guardian – and knows there is nothing she can do.

Forced from her home and city because of guardianship issues, she finds herself in an unfamiliar city. She is inundated with feelings of loss, guilt and confusion, but most of all loneliness. Her new found Aunt, Drea, is inattentive and usually not even there.  Cassie fills her hours by exploring her “gift”, taking philosophy courses and working at a coffee shop.  A love connection, based on lies and half-truth forces her to rethink her outlook on the “gift” she possess.  It also awakens her to the mystery that is her life, and the lies that she was raised on. Who is Cassie Renfield? is the main theme of the novel and the path that you take throughout it’s pages. It is a slow path through the molasses that is Cassie’s life, but it is stuffed full of brain stimulating questions, the main one that niggles at the back of your brain…If you knew someone was going to die that day, would you tell them?

There are a few things that might turn a reader off on this book, the first being the lack of action.  Yes, this a paranormal novel, but it is more of a teen self-discovery, it is a journey through the life of a grieving child on the brink of adulthood.  Added to that tumultuous time she is in possession of a very disturbing ability. Most of the action occurs in Cassie’s head.  I enjoyed it, but fans of kick-butt action might get bored. Second item up for debate, the love affair with the college boy Lucas. It is not your fairy-tale love story, it is real world joining of couples. It begins with lies and misunderstandings.  The relationship is full of uncertainties and some using, this book is not a romance novel.  Love is never even mentioned.  Don’t expect to enjoy birds and bees in this novel. The third and final problem readers might have would be the anti-climatic ending, I thought the ending was fitting, it went hand in hand with the rest of the novel and the final sentence of the book was epic, especially to a closet Socrates fan girl. I’m going for a 3.5 rating, because while not my favorite it was worth the time and made me think.

Recommendations: YA book with big girl thoughts. Adults and teens alike should read.  There might be some big girl language in the pages, but nothing that struck me as lewd. She also has a big girl relationship with Lucas, but nothing is described, the author doesn’t even detail any kissing.