Title: Ask MeAdd on Goodreads
Author: Kimberly Pauley
Publisher: Soho Teen
Pub. Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 14+
Aria Morse is an Oracle, which sounds a lot cooler than it actually is. Aria must answer every questions she hears, whether it's directed at her or not, and she has no control over her response. Here odd mumblings and awkward responses make her a social pariah, bullied and ostracized. While it's not fun, she almost prefers that no one talks to her because it saves her from having to deal with her "gift." She'd rather just lie low until her powers disappear, like have with every Oracle before her, including her grandmother. When Jade, the only classmate who ever showed Aria kindness, disappears under mysterious circumstances, Aria may be the only person with the ability to uncover the details surrounding her demise. The two prime suspects are Will and Alex, two boys Jade was involved with, who now seem to show up everywhere Aria turns. When she starts to develop feelings for one of the boys and more girls show up murdered, Aria knows she'll have to stop running from her gift and embrace it.
While I really liked the premise of ASK ME - a teenaged Oracle who has to catch a killer is a pretty solid idea - I wasn't a fan of the characters or plot development.
I couldn't connect with Aria and, unfortunately, found all of the characters and their motivations pretty juvenile and stereotypical. I was especially annoyed by Aria grandmother and grandfather, who she lives with. Her grandmother is constantly trying to encourage her to use her gifts, despite the bullying and ill treatment Aria experiences because of her lack of control over them. I really couldn't understand how Aria's grandmother could just ignore the negative consequences of being Oracle, especially when she'd been one herself. Aria's grandfather was slightly better, but he was always forgetting that Aria had no choice but to respond to every question she hears and never fails to ask tons of questions around her. You'd think that the man who raised Aria would eventually develop a habit of avoiding pointless questions at the expense of his beloved granddaughter.
Another issue was the unbelievability of some of the plot developments. I could get on board with Aria being an Oracle, but I couldn't suspend my belief when Aria, who has been ostracized for years, suddenly has two boys after her. I mean, really? All of a sudden she's desirable and her weirdness can be overlooked, though nothing at all has changed? A lot of the plot depends on Will and Alex's interest in Aria, so when their interest seems forced, the entire plot seems forced.
It seems like some readers are enjoying this one, so don't take my word for it! Check out these positive reviews: