Title: The Mark
Author: Jen Nadol
Pub. Date: 1/19/2010
Main Themes: Death, Supernatural, Love, Family, Loss
Plot (from book jacket):
"Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark - a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it to someone else, the mark was dismissed as a trick of the light. Cassie starts to consider its rare occurances insignificant - until the day she watches a man die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person's imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.
Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her "gift," seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she's careful to hide her secret - even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend - with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who can see it? And finally, the most important of all:
If you know today is someone's last, should you tell them?"
THE MARK is an interesting look at death and loss and raises some interesting questions about destiny versus choice, but it was not at all what I had expected when I picked up the novel. I had been expecting another supernatural YA with a romantic plot line that would leave me yearning for love, but that is not at all what I got from THE MARK. Though I truly did enjoy the novel, once I gave up on the vision of the book that I thought it was, I think it was marketed as something that it was not.
That said, there were some aspects of the novel that I loved and some that simply didn't hold my interest. I really enjoyed the philosophical debate that THE MARK fostered. If you had this terrible power, what would be the right way to use it. Should you warn people and try to save them? Or is it simply their time and you should let nature run its course? I felt like this aspect of the book was the strongest.
I didn't really like the romantic plot line. The boy that Cassie is with throughout most of the novel I found to be boring and pretentious. I did not see any chemistry between the two characters and I really wanted him out of the picture. Plus, I felt like Cassie couldn't really be herself around him, which made their relationship uncomfortable for me. There is another boy, who is only mentioned briefly, that I would have loved to see more of. I think the novel maybe was supposed to come across this way in the romance department, but it really didn't click for me.
Most of the novel really didn't seem very "supernatural" to me, so that was a bit of a letdown at first. However, near the end the novel, there is some mythology interwoven and the mystery of Cassie parents deepens as more details are uncovered - this is when I really started to get into the plot. I just wish some of this action would have happened earlier in the novel.
Ratings (Out of 10):
Total: 42/50 (B)
I'm not sure if THE MARK is going to be series or trilogy, but I would check out more novels about Cassie.The novel really did start to get interesting towards the end, so I was left with some questions. Plus, the boy I liked was finally back - so I am extremely interested to see what happens with him and Cassie! THE MARK was a great debut novel and I have high hopes for Nadol's next novels!