Even though Cady and Loni at first may appear as stereotypical twins - one outgoing and popular and the other more quite in reserved - readers will quickly discover that neither sister was that easy to read, and Cady most of all has more depth than many of her family or friends realize. Many of the characters, at first glance, appear somewhat casual, but Ryan does a good job of introducing them slowly, giving readers a deeper look into the characters bit by bit. Cady's brother is one that even Cady doesn't see clearly at first. It takes a very intuitive friend to clue her in before she begins to realize that she isn't the only one struggling and carrying the pain of losing her sister. I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters and I am confident they will continue to deepen and expand throughout this series.
There is two distinct aspects of this story, both of which will draw readers in. On one side is a young woman struggling with grief and a broken family. The dramatic elements surrounding the troubled home life was very well developed. The grief the family felt and the individual ways they dealt with it felt very real and will connect with readers. Another layer is added when Cady begins developing feelings for a new friend. The guilt she feels over beginning to move on with her life and being happy will tug at readers' hearts. But moving on isn't easy, especially not when her sister's boyfriend steps into her life with a whole mess of conflicting emotions, some of which directly affect Cady.
The other aspect was the supernatural experiences Cady has, first on the night of the accident when she physically and emotionally shares the experience with her sister, and later as unexplained occurrences throw her world into even more chaos.
Cady's effort to understand and control these strange abilities leads her to a new neighbor who is eager to help even though Cady is leery of getting involved. One thing I really appreciated in this book was that Cady reacted to her new abilities like a regular person would. There was more fear than excitement, a wary approach to even attempting to use it. She is scared and doesn't believe it at first. I always have a hard time with characters who instantly accept a strange new experience or ability as if it suddenly makes sense. Throughout the whole book Ryan worked hard to maintain a level of realism that will draw readers in and keep them connected to the characters through every page. I think this was a great start to the series and I look forward to continuing to read Ryan's work.
Arcadia's Gift is available now from Amazon.
Meet the Author
Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA. She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal. She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and sassy kitty.
You can connect with Jesi online at Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can also enter to win a copy of Arcadia's Gift below!