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Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot (Abandon Trilogy series #1)

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

When growing up, sometimes finding a place for yourself in society is one of the hardest challenges a young teen can face. Moving through the transitions of adolescence and young adulthood leads to complicated decisions and mixed emotions. Death and injury are also two very significant events that can heave a person and their family scarred. When it comes to losing a loved one at a young age, we all know how to properly grieve and set our dead at peace. The trouble is, we never expect our loved ones to come back from the dead.

Pierce Oliveria has deemed herself an NDE. An NDE is someone who has been through a near death experience. When faced with hypothermia and a head injury after slipping and falling into her family home's pool, she is left scared, tormented, and confused as to where she truly belongs amongst her family and friends in the living. When experiencing death and returning back to life, Pierce does not know what to tell the ones she loves what happened while she was on the other side. Most people claim to have seen a light, something that gives them proof that an afterlife actually exists. Pierce, on the other hand, did not see a bright white light, she saw him. 

The dark, ruggedly handsome, and muscled boy named John. He is the only proof that Pierce knows that what happened to her was real. All of the therapy sessions and 'shrinks' that her parents sent her too all claim Pierce is experiencing what is professionally called 'lucid dreaming.' This is no dream. John is real, but from the dead. 

As the novel works to unravel Pierce's thoughts and confused beliefs, I was able to see how deep and caring the main character is. Pierce dies at fifteen and comes back to life after seeing a boy who appears in the afterlife and in our present world, but she does not know what to make of him or her second chance at life. A morbid drama that is mixed with a young teenage romance, the difficult journey that adolescence provides and the ways in which the past is a concept that will always continue to appear in the present, no matter how far you bury the truth. I was entranced by the writing style of Cabot and how she allows you to truly feel as if you are in the immature and naive, but also deeply compassionate mind of Pierce and how as much as she cares for John deep down, she is still torn between focusing on a new start with her mom and a boy who continues to cause trouble for her new start. 

This series is a unique look at the journey of adolescence that is filled with obstacles and challenges that the average young girl or boy is not faced with. Death is not normally a concept that goes hand in hand with a young romance and critical family ties, but when it comes to Cabot's writing, I am a sucker for any new characters she brings onto paper. I was unable to put this book down as my heart strings were continually pulled towards Pierce and John and the connection they are working hard to create even though there are forces from both worlds working to keep them apart. 

Pierce is in love with the ruler of the Underworld and she just doesn't know it yet. 

Reviewed by Nicole Williams

Book Information
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 4/26/2011
Pages: 320

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Review: Underworld (Abandon series #2) by Meg Cabot