Publisher: Walker Childrens
Genre: Children/YA Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
Summary from Goodreads:
Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she’s in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.
At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.
Coffee To Go: Trippy, full of the “How did I not see that coming?!” plot twists, a sweet romance, and a very real, interesting and complex villain, Conjured kept my attention until the end. My biggest problem: I didn’t have a problem putting it down. I wasn’t at all bored throughout the book, but I also didn’t fall in love with the characters. I’ll be honest; I probably won’t purchase it for my personal bookshelf. However, I think this book NEEDS to be in middle and high school libraries. It’s fun fiction with a powerful message.
I tried and tried to use my normal review format and, well, it just wasn’t working for Conjured. This book is much too trippy for that. Before I get into my actual review, let me say that I debated giving this book 3 cups based on my review policy, but the book’s overall message is what pushed it to the 3.5 cup mark. I loved the ending.
Where do I begin? Eve is a very unique protagonist, to say the least. I haven’t read many books in which the narrator struggles with huge amounts of memory loss, but Durst portrays Eve in a way that you really understand her frustration. The problem? Nobody will tell her why she can’t remember anything. As a reader, I got a glimpse into how terrible amnesia truly is. Imagine having to rely on everyone around you—including those in which you have zero trust—to tell you what has happened in your own life because you can’t remember weeks at a time. Yeah. It sucks. On another note, most of you probably know that I LOVE character growth, especially in the protagonist. Eve grows tremendously. The worst part? I can’t even tell you the true depth of her growth right now because I’d be giving away the biggest secret. Ugh. Let’s just say that Eve learns what humanity is made of.
Pretend that you’re part of a witness protection program and a chunk of your teenage years have been either lost in a memory-black-hole or spent inside of a hideous government building. Boom, you’re Eve. You know what you miss out on? BOYS. Until you get a job working at the local library and you meet a quirky, adorable boy that tells you that he wants to kiss you five minutes after you’ve met him. Enter Zach! You will fall in love with him. He’s easily one of my favorite parts of Conjured. He stands for normalcy and innocence. He’s silly and adores Eve and will put a smile on your face. Eve’s dreams act as foreshadowing devices and give the reader creepy circus imagery. If you like circus imagery, you will probably like Conjured. Durst’s use of dreams in the novel really complements her use of memory loss. Eve’s dreams give the reader (and herself) just enough glimpses into her past to stir intrigue.
Let’s talk about the villain(s). When I met them, I was flabbergasted. Yes, I used that word. Many villains have an identity throughout most of the story and appear strongly and briefly in the story’s climax, but these villains stay shrouded in mystery until late in the plot. When the villains appear, the reader gets to know them rather intimately. The ending pages of the novel were high on emotion and character self-discovery.
Oh, and the cover didn’t make sense until after I read it. I think it was more of an “Oh, duh” moment for me though.
“She thought about teasing him, saying the car was blushing in embarrassment at the gouge in its paint—that seemed like something he’d like her to say. But maybe she’d already made that joke.”
“’You said you’re enjoying kissing one of them?’ ‘Is that unusual?’ Eve asked. ‘I thought that was the point of kissing.’” (Such matter-of-factness!)
“His innocent fearlessness was beautiful, and she wanted suddenly to feel that fearlessness too.”
***This book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way.