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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hunted, written by Cheryl Rainfield. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012. $12.95 ages 12 and up

"I struggle to keep my face still, to not show her how much I hurt - over Paul and his mom and his grandfather. Over Alex. Over Rachel's dad, and all those kids cheering in the hallways. I don't want her to talk about leaving again.

Mom smooths my hair back from my head, then tucks her hand into mine. I am startled, as always, by the lack of anything there..."

They are always on the run...Caitlyn and her Mom. They have been since her father was killed in a riot that targeted Paranormals. Her brother has also disappeared. That leaves Caitlyn alone with her mother, who has somehow lost her Paranormal powers and any will to face difficulty and prejudice.

A new school which targets Paranormals, those who have telepathic gifts, and constant fear that she will be 'outed' pushes Caitlyn to be as normal as she can be, to hide her powers and never to admit her differences. She can't really rely on her mom who uproots them every time trouble rears its ugly head.
They are tracked by government troops and live on the edge of discovery at all times.

In her new school Caitlyn senses a new threat. This time other Paranormals are trying to restore what they have lost. Caitlyn can join them, stay hidden or fight for what she thinks is right. It's a tough decision for a young teenager to make. The author adds touches of romance, friendship, and how new students make a place for themselves in new territory to this powerful and poignant novel.

She also fills the pages with tension, and even terror, as Caitlyn struggles to find balance and to recognize who is trustworthy and who is not. She is strong and wise, bright and tenacious. She finds lasting friendship with Rachel, romance with Alex and support from teachers. As she and her friends deal with the repercussions of bigotry and fearmongering, the reader must face some tough issues. It is a dark world out there.  Although it is a dystopian novel, and not one that I would usually choose to read, I found that I was totally absorbed in the drama of the telling, and had great difficulty not reading it start to finish in one sitting.

In the conflict between good and evil, between right and wrong, where do you stand? This fast-paced, thought-provoking story begs the question: what do you believe in, and how far are you willing to stick your neck out for those beliefs?

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