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The Otherworldlies: 02/14/12

cover art

The Otherworldlies by Jennifer Anne Kogler is about Fern trying to figure out why she's so much different from her fraternal twin, Sam. She's paler than pale, to the point of needing massive amounts of sunscreen to go anywhere. She can accurately predict the weather — always and talk to her dog. All those things she has learned to live with, but accidentally teleporting from school to the beach in the middle of a class, is a whole other thing!

The first two thirds of Otherworldlies is set in San Juan Capistrano. Besides Fern's teleportation problem, and the ire it creates with her mother, there are the swallows falling dead from the sky. The dead birds add a feeling of dread to a story that would otherwise seem like a lighthearted YA paranormal novel.

As with many YA books, Sam and Fern are children of a single mother. Their mother runs the home with military precision, another usual plot device to complicate the hero's plans. Except, this time, the mother's reasons, once revealed make sense and make her a believable and sympathetic character.

I especially loved the setting, San Juan Capistrano and later Coronado Island in San Diego. As a native Californian, I always perk up when the setting is somewhere I'm familiar with. Both locations, while molded for artistic license, are still recognizable and still resplendent with their local personalities. How Coronado island is described, especially, made me giggle for the juxtaposition of the paranormal use and the mundane use.

I plan to read book two, The Siren's Cry which came out in 2011.

Five stars.

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