by Kelly Green
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 16, 2011
Source: Kindle Store
Age Rating: 12+
When Abby Grace wakes up in the back of a van, she has no idea who she is, how she got there, or why anyone would want to kidnap her. After escaping her masked captors, she hurries home, only to discover that she unknowingly left her younger brother behind in the van. Unable to answer the police’s questions with her memories gone, she retreats to the safety of her bedroom where she tries to reconstruct her life. Just as she is settling into the belief that things will one day return to normal, she looks in the mirror—and sees a stranger’s face.
As Abby learns next, she has become a Shadow, sent to inhabit the lives of strangers in trouble. With nothing to go on except the vague hints of her cute but maddening Guardian, a 19th century ghostly teenager named Will, Abby sets out to rescue the missing brother. But she will need all of her intelligence, fearlessness, and wit, because if she fails to find him in time, she will remain trapped in this unfamiliar body forever.
Borrowing Abby Grace is a little book I'd been meaning to read for a while and finally did. It's a very short and cheap ebook-only story, so it was a no-brainer for me to give it a try...
- Plot: Abby Grace is a Shadow, a mystical being, formerly human, who inhabits the bodies of living people who need her to solve their problems. But, her problem is that she has amnesia upon first inhabiting her new body and doesn't remember anything about herself. She is in the process of being kidnapped when she first comes to, in the beginning, and manages to get away. Then, discovering who she is and who she's pretending to be takes her on a wild Nancy Drew-like mystery solving journey. The main objective of this episode is for Abby to find the kidnapped younger brother of Brooke, the girl whose body she's inhabiting.
- Characters: Abby is a funny girl, apparently a teenager herself, though she has no body. We never find out why she is a Shadow, or rather, she never finds out how the whole “shadowing” process works and why she's a part of it. The other presence in the story is a boy her age named Will, who is like a ghost, and he's there to help her out. He can't tell her how to solve her mysteries, or anything about who she's supposed to be helping, but he can tell her some things about what is expected of her, how much time she has to complete her mission, and the consequences if she doesn't complete it on time. Clearly, he has an important function, but I can't form an opinion of Will because he simply isn't in the story enough.
- Technical Writing: It's good and written in a believable YA voice. Abby has probably been leaping around from body to body (kind of like Quantum Leap) recently, since she's aware of modern technology and knows how to use it, even with amnesia.
- Storytelling: It's supposed to be an homage to the Nancy Drew mysteries of yesteryear, but I can't even draw that comparison because I never read any Nancy Drew. My older sisters loved those books, but they're ten years older than me, and I just had no interest. I thought the books were outdated, but, that was how I felt as a kid. (Don't kill me!) Still, I thought the mystery was done really well insofar as mysteries are concerned, and I never saw the climax coming. It wasn't predictable, and Abby did her job, even helping to repair a broken family at the end. It was very sweet.
- Overall Quality: Great. I wasn't sure what to think when I first started reading, but it quickly became a fast, fun, engaging story as Abby tried to figure out so many different unknowns all at once. I'm surprised it could be done within such a short space (40 pages).
- Favorite Scene/Moment: Easy. The scene where Abby sings a solo as Brooke (who has a killer voice) in the choir concert. She didn't know the words to “Danny Boy,” so she started making up stuff around the middle of the song—stuff about Danny losing his teddy bear and eating a hamburger. Then, in the middle of her solo, she takes off, chasing after a kid she believes is connected to the little brother's kidnapping, leaving the entire audience completely O__O. I laughed out loud at the pure Randomy McRandom-ness of it all!
- My Score: 4 stars out of 5.
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