Grasping at Eternity
Author: Karen Amanda Hooper
Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Length: 352 Pages
Paperback,via GoodReads giveaway
Rating: 4 Eternal Brownies
Before entering this life, Maryah did the unthinkable—she erased. Now, at seventeen years old, she’s clueless that her new adoptive family has known her for centuries, that they are perpetually reincarnated souls, and that they have supernatural abilities. Oh, and she's supposed to love (not despise) Nathan, the green-eyed daredevil who saved her life.
Nathan is convinced his family’s plan to spark Maryah's memory is hopeless, but his love for her is undying. After spending (and remembering) so many lifetimes together, being around an empty version of his soulmate is heart shattering. He hates acting like a stalker, but has no choice because the evil outcast who murdered Maryah in their last lifetime is still after her.
While Maryah’s hunter inches closer, she and Nathan make assumptions and hide secrets that rip them further apart. Maryah has to believe in the magic within her, Nathan must have faith in the power of their love, and both need to grasp onto the truth before they lose each other forever—and discover just how lonely eternity can be.
X-MEN meets MY NAME IS MEMORY in Karen Amanda Hooper’s latest young adult release.
To say that I was shell-shocked to see that I won a GoodReads giveaway would be a gross understatement. I was beginning to think it was impossible to accomplish, as I had entered countless of them to no avail. Lo and behold, an e-mail popped up in my inbox a few weeks ago deconstructing any suspicions I had accumulated. I had won a First Reads giveaway.
I walked on clouds for the rest of that day.
Flash forward, about two weeks later, and a package waits for me calmly at home. My fingers were tearing at the material surrounding the book with a certain ferocity before I could even guess at what waited inside: Grasping at Eternity-- in all of its gorgeous cover glory, complete with a sealed envelop tucked within a random page.
I'll take this moment to give a huge shout out to Karen Amanda Hooper, (and her fabulously named dog, Rooney), for taking the time to write me a lovely message bound in an equally lovely envelope. I'm not sure she'll ever see this review, but I wanted to give a shout out anyway to show my appreciation.
Anyway, on to the point at hand. Grasping at Eternity.
This book definitely surprised me. Oddly enough, it surprised me by not surprising me. I got exactly what I wanted from it. All too often lately I've had totally wrong notions about what a book may be about. It was a nice breath of fresh air to read something that delivered in every area that I had hoped it would.
Reading the synopsis, one may immediately notice that the central topic of the novel is reincarnation. The whole idea caught my attention from the beginning; there aren't many young adult novels about life cycles around these days. I hoped going in that it would set a high bar for a concept I had yet to dabble in, and set a high bar it did. Due to the shifting perspectives of Maryah, pronounced like Mariah, and Nathan, the reader is allowed insight into the idea of reincarnation almost immediately. At times it was mildly frustrating knowing so much more than Maryah, but at the same time it's easy to understand why she's kept in the dark for so long. If someone were to tell me I've lived 20 other lives, I'd run for the hills at full speed.
On the topic of changing perspectives, I will say that Nathan's point of view was kind of... iffy-- but only at first. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but his voice read more like a female than a male. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't seeing things through Maryah's eyes. After getting comfortable with the fact that he was lifetimes old, though, I started to understand why he sounded so different: he didn't sound like a typical teenage boy because he wasn't a typical teenage boy. Far from it, actually. I won't spoil anything more, but I will say that his intense love for Maryah also contributed to the way his voice was conveyed, and after a while it began to feel more natural.
This sort of leads into my next point: the way Hooper delivers the romance. While I admit that I wish I was given a little more time to get to know Nathan, I understand the reasons he kept his distance. I also realized that, in many ways, seeing less of a romantic interest is better than having them shoved down your throat during every scene. I think the main reason it bothered me at all was because by the time they "got together," it felt kind of rushed and weird. I understand that they were by no means strangers to each other, but as a bystander that witnessed only the events of the novel, it felt as though all of a sudden these strangers had fallen madly in love. It isn't insta-love, but we're never given a build up, either.
Lack of romantic build up aside, it's crucial that I point out how lovely Hooper's writing is. Her descriptions creep off the page, slowly inching their way up into your mind. Everything is vivid and everything is beautiful. That's the simplest and best way I can describe it. You'll just have to read it for yourself to understand, but it's pretty incredible.
I'm just about done with my ranting session now.
I really hope that this gains more notice within the Young Adult/New Adult crowd. I was shocked to find that this fantastic book had only 209 ratings on GoodReads. What does that mean? It means go buy Grasping for Eternity. It's a wonderfully crafted novel that embraces a new phenomenon that is sure to keep your pages turning.