Published: November 30th, 2012
Ghost Hand (The P.S.S. Chronicles #1)
By: Ripley Patton
Seventeen-year-old Olivia Black has a rare birth defect known as Psyche Sans Soma, or PSS. Instead of a right hand made of flesh and blood, she was born with a hand made of ethereal energy.
How does Olivia handle being the girl with the ghost hand? Well, she's a little bit morbid and a whole lot snarky.
Her mother thinks her obsession with death, black clothing, and the local cemetery is a bid for attention. But when Marcus, the new guy in Olivia's calculus class, stares at her like she's a freak, Olivia doesn't like it. And when her hand goes rogue, doing things she never imagined possible, Olivia finds herself running for her life with Marcus from a group of men bent on taking the power of her hand for their own nefarious purposes.
I don't take on all that many self-published books anymore. Someone with my kind of e-galley backlog really has no business taking on ANY new books for review, so I have learned to be careful and only say yes when I'm 99% sure that I will like/love that book. I read the Kindle sample for this book and I knew I had to have it for my own! Olivia Black is a character that comes along only every so often in YA lit, PNR or contemporary. When we first meet her, she is sitting in class trying to pay attention to the teacher, when all of the sudden her hand goes rogue and reaches into Passion Wainwright (who is sitting in front of her). Olivia ends up with a handful of razor blades and is seriously freaked out by the whole thing. How is this possible, you ask? Olivia Black has a rare condition known as Psyche Sans Soma, or PSS. Basically she was born with psychic energy in the form of a hand, instead of an actual flesh and blood limb. Olivia tries to forget that anything ever happened, but when the new kid, Marcus, follows her home and tries to warn her about a secret organization coming after her she shrugs it off. Then they try to snatch her in the cemetery. When that doesn't work, they burn her house down. And things only get crazier from there on out.
This book is non-stop action, with an occasional pause for some necessary dialogue and character relationship building. But it is so well-structured that I never really felt like anything was missing from my reading experience. I liked the fact that it was kind of an Idle Hands situation, only with psychic energy and not limited to just the hands. It was definitely not an idea that I had seen crop up before in any lit that I've read or heard of (YA or otherwise). I enjoyed Olivia's distinctive personality, although it was slightly over the top. I could definitely understand her turning towards an interest in things death/goth related, especially after having a parent undergo a slow, painful death from cancer. We also got an insight into the strained relationship Olivia has with her Mother and the wonderfully accepting, loyal one she has with her best friend Emma. The action had a purpose - there was a mission and a rhyme or reason to the way things went down. That put me in a very happy place as a reader. I thought that the whole secret organization thing fit very well into a world where there are psychic energy birth-defects. It made sense that people would be trying to steal that energy and harness it for their own purposes. And I liked that the other kids with Marcus were from a list of PSS kids that he was saving from the evil organization. It definitely brought home things to Olivia, who was on the list herself.
The whole thing with Olivia removing things from people definitely gave something unique and intriguing to the story. I was always curious to see what she would remove next and what special abilities the item would have. The initial distrust moving into an acquaintance and then finally into attraction between Olivia and Marcus had me breathing a sigh of relief. No insta-love here folks, which is a nice and refreshing change! The other guys in Marcus' band of misfits (PSS kids) were well fleshed out as secondary characters. We got just enough backstory to tantalize us, but not enough to make everything happening in future books rehash and boring. I particularly like Nose and Yale. I feel Jason has potential, but for which side I'm not quite sure yet. He could go hero OR villain from what I can tell. And the different areas of all their respective PSS was well played too. Probably the best part in the book was after a major battle with the baddies, when Olivia is trying to get them away from the house it was in. There is a thing that happens with the space-time continuum. That's all I will say, but it was definitely unexpected! Probably the only thing that had me rolling my eyes a little was the torture/do not torture dilemma with the fire chief. Overall, I greatly enjoyed it. One of the best paranormal YA books I've read in a long time and one of the best I read in 2013 overall! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something fresh, innovative, with a sense of humor and for anyone who doesn't mind taking a chance! :D
VERDICT: 4.5/5 Stars
*I received a review copy from the author , in exchange for an honest review. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published November 30th, 2012.*