Friday, September 4, 2015

Untraceable - S.R. Johannes (Nature of Grace #1)

Rating: 3.5 - 4 stars
Published: November 2011
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
While it was released in 2011, the box set of all three novels is now released for Kindle through Smashwords Editions. I requested a copy, because this was on my list of books I wanted to read when it originally came out and I just completely forgot about it. I will be purchasing book two and three to complete Grace's trilogy.

Grace has been searching for clues related to her father's disappearance for three months. For three months she has trekked through the Smokey Mountains trying to find anything that could possibly be related to her father, from foot prints to a bag of Cheetos. There's other suspicious activity taking place in the town and the mountains though and Grace has to investigate. Not only are there suspicious men in the mountains off season, but suddenly there's money in the town and people are spending more than they have in a while. Grace is distracted though, between her father's disappearance, a new guy who knows the mountains like her, and her ex wanting her back she's not prepared when she finds an illegal operation in her mountains.

I enjoyed Grace, she's definitely a sixteen year old, but with a lot more guts than you'd imagine. She's incredibly stubborn, immature, and determined, but her independence comes at a cost. At times I thought she was older than sixteen, but then she'd do something dumb and risky. She struggles with her relationships, full of angst just as I would expect her to be. The plot is unique and the characters are very detailed, even the shop owners and their descriptions weave a story of their own. While I am never a fan of love triangles, I would just barely call Grace's situation one. She's got Wyn, her ex and good friend who won't let go, and Mo, an incredibly good looking geology student living in the mountains for his research. I loved Mo, especially once he tied into the whole story, Johannes wrote his character perfectly. He goes from minor character to major character in seconds and it's written very well. I liked the twist, because it was unexpected and explained everything that had been happening perfectly.

The end of the book was tied up very quickly, there's a cliffhanger that's important, but the rest closes with the end of this book. I didn't completely understand or agree with the Wyn relationship, I feel that Grace made very clear she was needing just a friendship at the time and Wyn had another girl he was with too, so why so angry with Grace all the time, especially with Mo? I couldn't get into that relationship, it felt forced and young, but maybe that works for a sixteen year old. Grace starts to make a lot of mistakes, acting younger and less wilderness girl as the book gets near the end, I feel like she lost a lot of her personality and character that initially drew me in.

I think Untraceable is a very well written young adult novel, different than the other romances, mysteries, and paranormal stories out there right now. I highly recommend it to young adults, both boys and girls. It's a riveting story with a lot of heart. Plus, who doesn't like the idea of saving wild animals?

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