From the very first paragraph, the story reaches out to pull the reader in.
I died this morning. At exactly 8.17 am my heart stopped beating and I lay cold and still in the street. At 8.24 am my heart resumed beating, and I jumped up from the dusty pavement and ran home. Confused? Well, that makes two of us.
Gabby discovers she is a Xaverique, a species similar to humans, but more advanced.
Her father, who is also a Xaverique, explains that on her fifteenth birthday, her Xaverique DNA changed from being human but if she doesn’t use her powers, it will revert and she can live a normal life.
If she chooses to be a Xaverique, she will be stronger and faster than any human. Even more amazing, she’ll be able to heal herself and no-one will be able to kill her. The accident when she first died doesn’t count because she didn’t choose to use her powers. Her body automatically reacted to ensure she survived.
Gabby decides she doesn’t want to be different but there are other Xaveriques, a renegade group, whose powerful and cruel master has plans that include her.
When she meets Noah at school, Gabby is smitten for the first time. Noah is a complex character and the emotive heart of the story pivots on his inner struggle and his deepening relationship with her. Noah is a renegade but he didn’t choose to be that way. He cares deeply about Gabby and is conflicted by the role his master, Zlanythe, has given him.
Can Gabby trust him after he lied to her? Can she forgive him because he tried to help? Is Noah able to change? Is he free to choose love?
Xaverique is a story about the struggle between good and evil, between darkness and light but it is equally about how choosing between the two is far more difficult than it appears.
The ending will surprise and it will leave some readers wondering if there is more to come.
Reviewed by Sandy Fussell
Title: Choosing Xaverique
Author: Karyn Sepulveda
Publisher: Vivid Publishing
Publication Date: $18.95 RRP
Type: Young Adult fiction