Callis Rose-Mark Tufo
***DNF at 70%
Plot: Callis Rose is a girl with terrible powers that she doesn’t fully understand and can hardly control. She’s able to influence people’s decisions, force them to hurt themselves, freeze their bodies, or manipulate them into potentially life threatening situations that they have no power to stop. Her inability to fully comprehend her powers causes her to make a terrible mistake that costs her her happy home and her parents’ lives. After the accident and the incidents that followed, Callis is placed into the foster care system. She’s tossed from home to home where she’s compelled to sacrifice herself in order to survive her circumstances. From heartbreaking instances of child labor, to bullying, beatings, pedophiles, heroin addicts and the like, when Callis finally is placed in a home where she can have a normal life, it’s freedom unlike she’s ever known. Callis has learned how to wield her powers to protect herself and those she cares about. All she wants is to start high school, make friends, and find some semblance of normalcy. But on the very first day she’s already been branded a freak and harassed by the mean girls on the school bus for her hand-me-down clothes and the fact that she lives in a trailer. When Kevin, a JV football star, popular guy, and all around nice kid starts sheltering Callis from the taunts by her peers she finally makes a friend. But as jealousy, teen drama, and sinister events start to unfold, Callis is forced into fight or flight mode and must make the choice to use her powers for good or evil and potentially risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.
- The cover has a very eerie, Exorcist feeling that simultaneously haunts and draws your attention. The wicked evil radiates off the cover between the black and white, the glowing eyes, and the red text.
- Callis parallels Carrie on so many levels. She’s an outwardly innocent girl, who is a bit off, she comes from a family of questionable background, she’s the butt of everyone’s jokes, but inside she’s insecure, broken, unsure of herself, and unable to trust without losing a piece of herself. She’s been taken advantage of, suffered through so many traumatic situations and dealt with them the best she could. For all the terrible things she’s seen and been part of it’s admirable that she didn’t crack, and go completely insane. Her strength is unparalleled and places her at a place well above the other characters, so much so that she is like a supernatural entity even without her psychic powers.
- There are few times when such magnificent ideas are so abysmally destroyed. This idea was the kind that movies are made of, where power is born with such sinister possibilities that the sheer magnitude of terror is overwhelming. There was so much potential for horrific, truly creepy scenes that invoked the spine-tingling chill that great horror is made of . I can’t recall the last time I was so thoroughly disappointed.
- There is not a single redeeming, relatable character apart from Callis. The bitchy popular girls are overly stereotyped and ridiculously obnoxious to the point of barely being readable.
- Kevin’s and Callis’ love has little basis, apart from the fact that she’s attractive and this isn’t even reinforced because originally when asked if she was pretty, Kevin replied that she was weird or something along those lines. The notion that a mere week or two later he’s absolutely infatuated with her beauty, sparkling personality, and bountiful heart is unfounded, and doesn’t make an ounce of sense. What is understandable is how Callis is enamoured with Kevin, he’s attractive, popular, a football player, and he’s the nicest person she’s ever met. The fact that he pays her any attention at all is enough.
- There were several typos, tense issues, and other grammatical errors. Needed another round or two of editing.
- The foster care system is painted as the worst possible outcome for any child. While there is no doubt about the corruption of the system for money and the need for social workers to put children in less than savory or safe conditions just to get rid of them, the cynicism is toxic. Callis’ transition to each different home which accounted for much of the book, was each a sharp, disturbing look into the system and their screening process. While realistic fiction is appreciated this was something else. I can’t even begin to tell you how many rape, molestation, and sexual abuse scenes I’ve read as both and English and Russian major but this was unbearable. There are many creepy, disquieting, and utterly disgusting scenes of near rape and molestation that are sickening to read. Although there is not a full rape scene there’s enough of the dirty, gritty, horrified feeling of complete hopelessness and despair to leave you feeling disturbed for days. I understand that the author was making a point about the system but were two scenes absolutely necessary?
- Mindy and her sycophantic minions are so pathetic, weakly developed, and just sad, sorry excuses for enemies that their monopoly on many scenes are almost pointless and I often felt the urge to bypass their POVs entirely.
- Callis’ transition into battery and violence was quick, gory, and didn’t have a solid foundation. One second she was a kind girl with unspeakable psychic powers and the next she’s relishing hurting people.
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