Borrowing Abby Grace by Kelly Green: Review



TITLE: Borrowing Abby Grace
EBOOK by Backlit Fiction 
(My copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for honest review; I received no payment for the same.)

BLURB (from Goodreads):
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.


REVIEW:

You have to give it up to Backlit Fiction: they know the power of good editing and design.
Honestly, in the world of independant publishing, it's hard to find a book that engages both my artist side and my writer side, but Kelly Green's Borrowing Abby Grace series does that: it features eye-catching covers, seriously well-edited books and zero grammatical/spelling glitches.
The Borrowing Abby Grace series features short, fast-paced stories that are easy to read, fast-paced and quite engaging, with interesting characters, new ideas and lots of humor. The concept is fun and original: a girl-ghost, a.k.a "Shadow" who can be "borrowed" into other bodies as other people, with lots of mystery and sassy good humor thrown in to boot. Abby reminds me of a quirkier, sassier Nancy Drew. She's all A to B, no tears and tantrums, inquisitive and funny and mostly fast-thinking. While she solves the mysteries and problems in the lives of other people- people whose bodies she is forced to take over because that is what Shadows do- she questions her own existence and the possibility of what might have happened to her own life as Abby Grace. There is also Will- the boy in the shadows who is supposed to be helping her but chooses to be infuriatingly smug instead- whose mysteries  I hope will be revealed in the forthcoming books. The plot doesn't lag anywhere- it moves in one continuous sweep from the beginning to the end, and that might also be a shortcoming of this novel.
Sometimes it just seemed too FAST.
Perhaps that has to do with my reading preference of books with long winding paragraphs of description, but I felt that Abby accepted the Shadow thing too quickly. That the problem in the first book which she was supposed to solve wasn't quite a problem at all, that the girl she'd been "borrowed" into could have just solved it herself instead of going in for a paranormal solution. I mean, when you have a paranormal solution, the problem should involve guns blazing, vampires dying, world ending...right? Maybe it's just me with my need for descriptions and emotional stuff and all: but I thought the book should have been longer, Abby should have been more fleshed out, and the problems...actually problems which NEED to be fixed paranormally. And also, couldn't the decisions that she makes as someone else totally affect the "someone else" when they are back in their own body? This is a question I was asking myself throughout the Girl Steals Guy book (the 2nd one in the series) because Abby makes some pretty important choices for the girl that she has been borrowed for, Michelle. I kept thinking what Michelle would feel when she came back. (And for her to come back, where did she go in the first place? Maybe we'll get to know that as the series continues!)
But that said, there was no problem with enjoying Abby Grace and her wittiness at all. I liked Abby's voice: her sarcasm is much appreciated in the place of usual YA heroine whininess.
I liked her relationship with Will, and I want more of him in the next books. I liked that each time she does a job, a memory of hers comes back. I liked that it made me laugh, and that it also got me curious regarding the real Abby Grace, and Kelly Green's writing-style is quite good.
Just...less speed next time, more people, more PROBLEMS.
The covers rocks, though. Dude, it does.

VERDICT: Read it when you want something quick, simple, fun and sassy.

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