By Kitty Keswick
Available now from Leap Books
Review copy provided by publisher
Read my interview with Kitty
FREAKSVILLE is the story of Kassidea Maxwell, who can see the future. When the book opens, she sees a vision of the new guy (Josh Johnstone) in pain and decides to follow him so she can help. They end up running into a ghost, being cast as the leads in Romeo and Juliet, and there the book begins.
Kitty Keswick decided to write FREAKSVILLE in blog format, which I'm not sure works for me. Journals of any sort are tricky to pull of realistically. Kasey's blog entries are about ten pages each and often include long sections of dialogue. They are also dated like she's writing each entry shortly after events happen, but sometimes she's in a situation where that wouldn't be possible. Plus, she says sensitive information in her blog, which (judging by the comments) is completely open to the public and not concealed by psuedonyms. It might work better if her blog entries opened the chapters, which then went into standard first person.
Since Kasey learns the full extent of her heritage at the end of FREAKSVILLE, I hope that there's more world-building in FURRY & FREAKED. Kasey knows that there are paranormal/supernatural things in her world, but hasn't been educated about them. This makes it hard to tell what the "rules" of the world are, as well as what creatures even exist in the world. I was also sometimes confused about who knew about her powers and who didn't. (After all, in Kasey's day-to-day life she seems to keep them a secret, but then she tells all about it in her blog.)
On the other hand, FREAKSVILLE was fun, and not just because of the cute illustrations. Kasey has a strong voice, and I liked her habit of making lists. I liked her relationship with Gillie. The two girls supported each other without getting jealous of the other's relationship. I liked the background feud between the Maxwell and Johnstone families - I can't wait to see that expanded as Kasey and Josh further their relationship. The central action scene was tense, although I felt like the secondary villain came from nowhere.
FREAKSVILLE felt like a debut novel. The story worked, but there were problems in the telling. I did like the characters, so I'm sure I'll be back for FURRY & FREAKED.