Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.
Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Young adults who tend toward the philosophical
High point: The concept
Low point: The writing
Reader maturity: 13+
The Mark follows a gifted--or cursed--teenaged girl named Cassie who has the ability to see who is going to die. Her biggest question is: do you tell them?
While I enjoyed The Mark's plot and the varied characters throughout, I felt that the writing was on the amateur side. It was very good, but I think it could have been great. The Mark seemed like it was almost to the point of being a YA masterpiece but fell just a little short. Though never sloppy or cringe-worthy, the sentence construction was choppy, and the story moved along a little roughly. I also never felt that Cassie's emotions regarding certain events were fully realized.
On the plus side, Jen Nadol created a great jumping-off point for a series and had several successes with the writing of The Mark. Cassie was a well-developed character in some areas, and her relationships and feelings seemed realistic. The philosophy-obsessed boyfriend and the emotionally-distant aunt were also sturdy characters. The concept was, if not unique, at least a new twist, and the author certainly did her research for the book while seamlessly integrating heavy theories and discussions without burdening the plot progression. I hope to see more of Ms. Nadol's work in the future, especially if there is a sequel to The Mark in the works.
Title: The Mark
Author: Jen Nadol
Genre: Young adult fiction, Paranormal
Book Source: Won from Amy Brecount White