I received this YA mystery e-book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. Ashes to Ashes is the first book in a YA series. Natalie just moved to a new neighborhood and is starting at Emerson High. Shortly after starting freshman year, strange things start happening. Her weekly planner had already been filled out, with homework and notes already there for the whole year written in her own handwriting! Soon she starts getting notes telling her not to go to school on November 1st. Vague notes warning the future begin to pop up everywhere, on her English paper, in her locker, and on homecoming tickets. In the center of it all, there is a mysterious girl named Love. She seems to be connected to the unfortunate events that keep happening, and Natalie will stop at nothing to figure out what she is hiding and what the notes mean.
Overall, Ashes to Ashes was a good book. I could not stop reading it and was on the edge of my seat! The concept is very interesting and unique. The notes intrigued me, and I was constantly trying to guess the result. I also loved the figurative language. There was a ton of creative metaphors and similes, and they helped me visualize the events even better. Everything was so descriptive, and all those metaphors helped. There were frequent changes in the style of the language and tone used. There were many different plot lines going in different directions, but what I loved was that the climax of each got more and more intense each time. This helps with the suspense and the mystery.
A good portion of the book consisted of dialogue. While I usually like more thoughts and feelings than dialogue, the characters all vocalized their thoughts and feelings. Some of the dialogue felt rather forced, but it fit the situations in the environment at the time.
In my opinion, the characters were a little too mature for their ages. These kids are freshman in high school, and they have almost no adult supervision. The only times when adults were around was when something really bad happened. Natalie and her friends also skipped school whenever they wanted to, and I thought for a while that these kids were freshmen in college instead of freshmen in high school. I feel like the setting and characterizations could have been slightly more developed. I also would have liked to see more internal conflict in Natalie and the other characters.
The author, Valerie Thomas, has her own website where she posts tips and suggestions for improving writing. She even recommends books to read. Check out her website!
I recommend that you read this book. The last page of Ashes to Ashes announces that there will be a second book, and I cannot wait to read it!
Title: Ashes to Ashes
Author: Valerie Thomas
Publisher: Ebbing Neptune Publishing
Pages: 252 Pages
Series: Yes, book 1
Rating: 4 Stars