By Adrienne Kress
Available now from Diversion Books
Read my review of The Friday Society
"Sixth year, I shot an angel in the face."
So ends the first chapter of OUTCAST, the newest book by Adrienne Kress. I adored THE FRIDAY SOCIETY, thus picking this one up was a no brainer. And that first chapter hooked me and kept me reading long after I should've gone to sleep if I wanted to be daisy fresh for work the next day.
Once a year, angels take people from Riley Carver's hometown. The year after they take her best friend, who recently kissed her, she decides to fight back. She ends up with Gabriel, a naked punk who thinks it's still 1956. But perhaps two people can fight back better than one. But perhaps even more than two . . .
I liked quite a bit about OUTCAST. It has the same zany, madcap energy as THE FRIDAY SOCIETY. It has an intriguing, slow-building female friendship. It has a gradual romance filled with tension. It has a crazy plan that involves shooting angels in the face. It's slightly absurd and over the top, but it still makes decent points about our reality, including race relations in the Deep South, girl-on-girl crime, and the power of smoke and mirrors.
OUTCAST is held together by the force of Riley's personality. When the book begins, she's not that confident. She's not fashionable or socially gifted, her best friend disappeared and left her without a social or love life, and she's stuck in a town she doesn't like that much. Gabe's arrival - her attraction to him and the possibilities he opens up - help bring Riley out of her shell and discover who she wants to become.
The only thing I don't like about OUTCAST is the ending. It gutted the romantic in me. I want another book set in this world to sooth my hurts, but I suspect it's a standalone. (Please note I would welcome a book about cheerleader Lacy just as much as another about Riley.) I still think the book was a ton of fun, and I think the ending works with both the characters and the world. I just wanted everything to end with rainbows and sparkles.
OUTCAST is a good light paranormal for people who like laughing while reading, girls who can handle guns, and guys who fix up their own motorcycles.