by Gina Rosati
To be published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan
on August 7, 2012
My summary: Anna has a secret talent: astral projection. She can leave her body at will and float around unseen, then return to her physical self with no one around her the wiser. Anna uses her gift just for fun, or to escape her alcoholic father. But one night after Anna has left her body, she witnesses the accidental death of Taylor, a classmate. As if that isn't horrifying enough, Anna returns to her body to find that it's already occupied -- by Taylor. Now Anna is counting on her best guy friend Rei to help her get back into her body and prove that their friend Seth is innocent of Taylor's murder.
My take: There were a lot of things I liked about this book. The set-up is clever and well thought out. Body switching is a familiar concept in both YA fiction (Freaky Friday or Don't You Wish) and the movies (The Change-Up, 17 Again) but the concept of astral projection is an interesting one, and not something I've seen before in YA.
I especially loved the astral projection musical chairs -- taking the idea of body switching and then removing one body out of play -- that is set up in Auracle. Anna witnesses the death of Taylor, then discovers that Taylor has "stolen" her body. That leaves Anna literally out in the cold, unable to stop Taylor from blaming Anna's good friend Seth for her murder.
The only problem I had with this book -- and this is just my own preference as a reader, not a flaw in the book -- is that based on Auracle's cover and blurb, I was expecting paranormal suspense. I wanted this book to be a thriller, focusing on Anna's high-stakes struggle to get her body back and exonerate her friend. According to the high school rumor mill, Taylor did some pretty bad stuff in her past, and I would have liked it even better if she had tried to pin her murder on Anna.
Instead, Auracle was more of a dramedy. Or dram-com?? I'm not sure what the official term should be. It was suspenseful at times, but this alternated with a whole lot of funny. Taylor, a girly mean girl, takes over Anna's body and is up to no good, giving Anna's body a crazy makeover, coming onto Rei, attending her own funeral. As I read, the tug of war between Anna and Taylor over Anna's body was paralleled by my own internal tug-of-war with this book. Every time the story veered from suspenseful to comic, I wanted to yank it back.
Auracle is definitely a book with a lot going for it. Anna and Rei are appealing characters and there's a nice romantic spark between them. I'd recommend this book wholeheartedly to readers in the mood for a paranormal book with a comedic bent, like Ghost and The Goth by Stacey Kade or the Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins.
Don't just take my word for it!
Here are other reviews by: