29 July 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: The Gifting by K E Ganshert

A Book Set in High School

The Gifting is written by Katie Ganshert, who has previously written some rather lovely Christian women’s fiction and a couple of romance novels. The Gifting trilogy, using the KE Ganshert pen name, is her first foray into young adult literature, and self-publishing. It’s written from a Christian world view, but not to the point where the faith elements are pushy (at least, not at this stage. I can see they might get more obvious as the series progresses).

The Gifting is a young adult dystopian thriller, along the lines of The Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight or Anomaly with elements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The first-person narrator, Tess Eckhart, sees strange things no one else sees … but lives in a society when any hint of imperfection is frowned upon, especially if that imperfection is mental illness. And seeing things is definitely not sane.

When her visions force her family to move from Florida to California, she meets Luka, the most popular guy in school, who all the girls are hot for and who doesn’t date any of them (remind you of anyone, Twilight readers?). For some unknown reason, he befriends Tess (remind you of anyone, Twilight readers?), because there’s something they have in common (remind you of anyone, Twilight readers?).

Yes, I would have enjoyed The Gifting more if it hadn’t been full of things that happened to Bella. It also seemed a bit odd that it wasn’t clear when it was set: Tess uses a laptop and iPad, which makes the technology seem very 2015, yet other aspects of the novel suggest it must be set at least twenty years in our future.

Like Twilight, The Gifting has that combination of plot and pace which kept me turning pages and resenting when I had to put my Kindle down for unimportant daily tasks like work and sleep. But the writing in The Gifting is better, and Tess isn’t nearly as annoying as Bella. The first-person point of view worked well—it would have destroyed some of the tension if we’d known what Luka was thinking.

Overall, The Gifting was an excellent read, and if I didn’t already have 100+ books in my to-read list, I’d be clicking to buy the sequel. The second book in the trilogy, The Awakening, is already available and the third book, The Gathering, is currently available for pre-order.

This book counts towards my 2015 Reading Challenge as a book set in high school (finding one was harder than I thought!).

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