Guarding Brecken Shaefer—a dark and dangerous rebel—is harder than it looks.
Death was nothing like sixteen-year-old Alisa Callahan thought it would be. Resting on pink, fluffy clouds for eternity with her gram and best friend sounded like a dream come true. After all, enduring one torturous experience after another in her short life deserved some kind of reward, right? Unfortunately, eternal rewards aren’t given out so freely when you take your own life.
Required to pay the debt for committing suicide, Alisa must become a guardian. It sounds easy enough, but not when the boy she is forced to protect has a dangerous secret and wants absolutely nothing to do with her.
Brecken Shaefer isn’t any normal teenager. He has special gifts that are sure to make Alisa’s afterlife miserable. When feelings develop between them, everything spins out of control. Not only must Alisa face her own demons— but to protect Brecken, she must face an evil so heinous that it threatens to destroy their souls completely. Alisa is tired of hiding from her past. When the easiest thing to do is run, can Brecken give her the strength to stay?
Melissa J. Cunningham began writing five years ago when she decided, out of the blue, to enter a community writing contest and won first place. From that moment on she had a new love: Writing. Melissa is a member of the League of Utah Writers. Her past publication experience includes a recurring opinion column called Writing Reality, for her local newspaper: The Leader
Melissa’s first novel: Reluctant Guardian, was accepted for publication through Clean Teen Publishing in August 2013.
When Melissa is not writing you can find her spending time with her family and her horses, cats, dogs and chickens or reading. Melissa is also a local music teacher.
I always have to give myself a mental adjustment when I switch from reading adult paranormal romance to YA. However with The Reluctant Guardian, although YA and centered around teen characters, it really did deal with some dark issues and didn’t tread lightly on them – which is a refreshing change.
The book moves between first person Alisa, to third person Brecken, and I did find myself preferring Alisa’s parts. Brecken’s seem a little less like prose and more like reports containing info dumps and not much that help to engage with him as a character. Alisa does come across a bit selfish – although I must admit that my personal opinion of suicides are that they are selfish in their actions (just my opinion – I’m not a psychologist or claim any knowledge on the subject matter) so perhaps it was more of a clever character point.
From a writer’s perspective, It’s slow to really get going and to be honest I’d have preferred to have skipped ahead to when Alisa is actually with Brecken and the rest of the information from before slotted in as back-story where appropriate. The secrets throughout the book are cleverly introduced and I can’t fault the writing style in Alisa’s parts of the story.
The front cover is beautiful and was what actually drew me to review the book in the first place and I feel that, as teen reads go, this is one of the good ones available.
Overall I’d give The Reluctant Guardian 4 out of 5 stars – interesting, thought provoking and beautifully written