February 1, 2016

Review: Jillian Cade: (Fake) Paranormal Investigator

Jillian Cade Book one in a series
By Jen Klein
Available now from Soho Teen
Review copy

JILLIAN CADE: (FAKE) PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR is Jen Klein's first YA novel, but she's already a seasoned writer due to her work with hit TV show Grey's Anatomy.  The eponymous Jillian Cade knows all about the paranormal due to her father.  She uses the information she's picked up from him (in addition to some common sense) to run Umbra Investigations.  After all, it isn't too hard to solve a haunting that isn't actually happening.  When a classmate hires Jillian to find a missing person, she realizes that she might be in over her head trying to solve a real case.  But her dad ditched her, so she has to make money somehow.

I took a long time to warm up to JILLIAN CADE.  I think I was expecting something kookier.  Instead, I got Jillian's reluctant attraction to Sky Ramsey, the mysterious new boy who knows too much about her.  (And who is totally off his rocker, since his explanation for the disappearance is that a succubus did it.)  The story did start to move once it pulled off one of my favorite tricks: it switched genres.

I feel like I'd like a sequel better, because the reveals really broadened the world of JILLIAN CADE.  This book took too long to build for me, and I just couldn't with Sky.  His whole stalker-act could've been written to be 90% less creepy, thus making the romance 90% more believable.  (As is, it mostly hinges on Sky being hot and Jillian feeling possessive of him.)

JILLIAN CADE: (FAKE) PARANORMAL INVESTIGATOR isn't a bad first novel, but I expect more from someone working on a show that knows how to bring the drama.

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