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'Blackbird' is well-done, tense thriller
Ann Carey
Ann Carey, the author of "Blackbird," is one of five authors participating in the "Epic Reads" tour. - photo by Kristin Hoebermann

 

BLACKBIRD,” by Ann Carey, HarperTeen, $17.99, 247 pages (f) (ages 16 and up)

From the very first sentences of “Blackbird,” the story starts off with a palpable tension and burst of action that carries throughout the novel.

“Blackbird” follows a girl who has just woken up on a train track with nothing but a backpack holding money and a note with a phone number to call.

When she calls that number, everything goes awry and she realizes that the fresh blackbird tattoo on her wrist and the people chasing her in an attempt to end her life are more than just some silly game. If she wants to live, she needs to find some answers.

A few serendipitous run-ins with some supporting characters makes this easier, but the twists and turns keep coming. While some outcomes may be guessed at, others are unpredictable and really make the story stand out.

The second-person point-of-view isn’t done often because it’s hard to do well, but Carey pulls it off, placing the reader in the character’s position and adding to the thrilling nature of the book with the absence of any omniscience.

“Blackbird” contains occasional strong language and multiple fight scenes along with general descriptions of murders and dead bodies. Also, there is more than one scene with consensual sex between teenagers that while generally described, goes well beyond just kissing.

(Tara Creel’s email is taracreel@gmail.com, and she blogs at taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.)