Life can get pretty complicated for any seventeen-year-old girl, but for a home-schooled telepathic black girl trying to survive in a prestigious private school in small-town Jonesborough, Tennessee, it can be maddening – especially when her telepathic father keeps eavesdropping on her thoughts!
Jaycie Lerner’s family isn’t the usual mom-dad-kid setup. Jaycie’s mom’s MIA, but Allison, her personal live-in ‘trainer,’ is more than a mom, with her own special abilities, like being able to lift cars and run incredibly fast. And Jaycie’s godfather John is more than persuasive – he can literally convince anyone to do anything.
As far as the rest of the world’s concerned, Jaycie’s on the outside looking in. The townsfolk love Jaycie’s pediatrician father, but she doesn’t fit in with ‘normal’ kids, and she doesn’t really want to. Most of her free time is spent training to keep her telekinetic and telepathic powers under control. But there’s one thing she can’t control – and that’s her feelings, especially when her best friend Matt is nearby. If only he knew what she was truly capable of...
Everything seems to be status quo for Jaycie until she receives a cryptic message from a stranger and meets a very unusual girl new to Jonesborough. Then all hell breaks loose!
When I was approached by author Natasha Larry to review her book, Darwin's Children, I will admit that the cover turned me off somewhat. However, after reading the synopsis, I was eager to give it a read. I am very glad that I did not judge this book by it's cover. Darwin's Children was a refreshing change from many other YA Paranormal. At it's core, this book drills home a message of love and family. I truly enjoyed the family dynamics.
The main character, Jaycie Lerner, is a great voice for teens. She is strong, loving, caring and smart, but still remains positive even when faced with difficulties. However, a lot of that has to do with the loving family surrounding her. Jaycie's father, Mason Lerner, is an amazing man. He's smart, loving and protective of his daughter and family. He truly is a great example to all parents. I loved seeing the love between this Father and Daughter. In addition to Jaycie's father is her surrogate Mother/Nanny/Trainer, Allison Young. Allison is a great character. She is funny, smart, strong, sexy and just plain fun. It is her responsibility to train Jaycie to control her telekinetic powers. Also, being the only other female in the family, she takes it upon her self to deal with all the 'girlie' issues that arise. Sometimes whether Jaycie wants the help or not.
Of course no YA Paranormal would be complete without a little romance. Luckily for Jaycie, and us, she has her childhood best friend turned boyfriend, Matt Carter. Matt is very sweet and truly loves Jaycie. The romance was perfect. Not overdone and it was well balanced within the confines of the story. It did not take over as I have found too often happens in YA Paranormal.
We are also introduced to a pivotal character about 60 pages in. Haylee Michell is this broken, beaten shell of a girl who, with the love and caring shown from both Jaycie and her family, begins her transformation not only as a human but also as a superhuman. As we are introduced to Haylee, things start to shift and by the last few chapters, Darwin's Children, takes a bit of a darker turn from the light YA Paranormal we were enveloped in. I have read a few reviews that left some reviewers feeling that the ending was rushed and took too drastic a turn. Although, perhaps the ending was a bit rushed, I actually enjoyed the direction the story has begun to travel and look forward to the next installment.
In the end, I would recommend Darwin's Children to all lovers of YA Paranormal. If you are tired of characters that wallow in self pity and a lifetime of impending doom, this will be sure to give you a great read. I for one will be sure to keep my eye out for Natasha Larry's next installment in this series.
Rating: 4 stars