Friday, August 6, 2010


When Ellie’s parents are busted for possession of marijuana, the FBI gives her a choice: infiltrate the Mother Earth Defenders (MED), a radical environmental group, or her parents will go to jail. At first Ellie is more than willing to entrap the MEDics, but the more time she spends undercover—particularly with Coyote, the green-eyed MEDic that she can’t stop thinking about—the more she starts to believe in their cause. When talk turns to murder, Coyote backs out, but Ellie is willing to risk everything to save her family—even if it means losing Coyote and putting her own life on the line.

April Henry, author of the acclaimed YA thriller Shock Point, pulls an issue straight from the headlines as she deftly explores what happens when good intentions get out of hand. With the environment a hot topic, this blend of explosive action and romance will make Torched a must-read for all suspense lovers.


The story begins right away as Ellie meets the group of MEDics and her attention is instantly drawn to Coyote. Instantly, the novel grabs your attention by skipping the regular boring back-story and starting the main point of the novel instantly. With an interesting prologue, Torched draws readers in from the start, making the novel hard to put down. It also helps that the novel is short and an easy read without slow points to make the reader think of putting it down.

As the story develops, Ellie's character grows and becomes stronger, more sure of herself, in a way that is relatable but not overly pushy like some novels. A love a strong female character, even when she's faced with one of the most swoon-worthy guys in fiction.

The plot stays strong throughout the novel and doesn't have a point where it jumps the shark. If there is one thing that annoys me the most in reading a novel, it is a character or a plot point that goes against everything written before it. The characters in April Henry's Torched came through strong. Thankfully, in a novel written for teens, nearly all the main and supporting characters are teenagers who are involved in supporting their earth, which was great to read. Why write a novel for teens where teens only play supporting roles? No, Torched took a look into how the earth was effecting teens which gave it a unique standpoint.

Another great thing. So many novels about the ecosystem and saving Mother Earth are preachy stories that teach a moral to be kind to the earth when this is something we have known for years. Torched brought up a different idea in the end that questioned how much was too much and what you can do to take control of your environment in a way that is healthy for everyone.

The only downside to this novel was the involvement of the FBI. For some reason, their tactics seemed awkward, as though this wouldn't actually happen in real life. I can't see the FBI letting off two people who grow drugs in order to infiltrate an environmental group that is rumored to turn towards violence. Besides that, the story flowed well and I enjoyed reading it.

Rating: A-


Splendibird said...

I really love it when I find a review for a book that I have never heard of. This sounds great, with a really original premise for a YA title. Will definitely be adding it to my wish list! Thanks for such an interesting and articulate review!

April Henry said...

I'll echo the above poster - thanks for the interesting and articulate review!

I'll have a new YA thriller out in September called Girl, Stolen. It's about a blind girl who is kidnapped. It just got a starred review from VOYA.